Who cares about the public? A first hand report of the tensions prevailing around the Kosi in Nepal and Bihar

Dinesh Kumar Mishra pens down emotions and responses of people living inside the Kosi embankment - to plug or not to plug

The setting is unique. 34 Nepali villages within the embankments want the breach to remain opened. I talked to some of them and reminded them of the slogan that was in air at the time of construction of the embankments, "Aadhi Roti Khayengein, Kosi Baandh Banayengei". I was replied that, "Poori Roti Khaayengei, Baandh nahi banane dengein." These are supported by 380 villages within the embankments of the Kosi that are spread over 13 blocks and 4 districts with a population of nearly 1.2 million.

On the other side of the fence are 4 panchayats of Nepal of Sunsari district with a population of nearly 75,000 ably supported by nearly 900 villages of the Kosi with a population of nearly 3.5 million through which the Kosi was flowing this season. They want the breach to be plugged.

The breach will either be plugged or left as it is. If it is plugged 414 villages of India and Nepal will face the music that they have been facing for the past 45 years. If it is not, then 3.5 million people of India and Nepal will go through the same rigours. It seems the Government is duty bound to plug the breach. This would mean that those trapped between the embankments will remain trapped till such time the Kosi chooses to breach its embankment once again.

I was in Supaul recently and told by a person as, "I do not know for what crime of ours we were sentenced to life imprisonment within the embankments for decades. Fortunately for us the gate of the jail is left open at Kusaha recently. We will not allow this gate to be closed once again." The other person told me as, " Those who are rejoicing at the Government decision to plugging of the breach at Kusaha will repent this soon as the river will breach it in future also but not before further raising the bed level within the embankments and adding to the devastating capacity of the river. Within the embankments people are inconvenienced immensly every year but they do not die as they are prepared to face the wrath of the river but I pity those living outside the embankments. They may get killed in any flood in case of the breach."

People do not decide things for the Governments but the Governments do. If it decides to kill them for good instead of inconveniencing them, it must have some good reason for doing that which we do not know. Will somebody throw light on this?

Dinesh Kumar Mishra
Convenor-Barh Mukti Abhyan
6-B Rajiv Nagar
Patna 800013
Bihar
Mob: 9431303360

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