बिहार में बाढ़: क्या समाधान है (Flood Crisis In Bihar: Is There Any Solution)
Whenever we talk about floods in Bihar, we should keep in mind that it is also considered to be the cause of widespread poverty and starvation, but it is not the only reason. During the drought or even in normal times, starvation-like conditions persist in the state. Actually, the biggest cause of hunger is corruption prevailing in the governance and administration of the state. For political leaders, contractors and middle-men, floods and drought have become a profitable industry. We have discussed all these aspects of the problem in the first chapter of the monograph.
About 1.71 crore people were affected by the floods. The floods ravaged the homes of 8.5 lakh people in North Bihar and killed 514 people. The crops were also damaged due to floods. As per the data, the Kharif crop in about 8 lakh acres was completely destroyed. The flood is said to be the origin of North Bihar. The geographical location of the state is such that it is not possible to save it from the flood crisis. Many rivers originating from the Himalayas and flowing through Nepal fall in this part of Bihar. This source of sweet water can also be a boon for the state. However, during the monsoon, these rivers become troublesome for the people. Koshi is one such river in north Bihar which is causing grief to the people due to its changing course.
Some experts believe that flooding is a natural phenomenon that cannot be stopped. It is better than humans learn to live with the flood. Nevertheless, under the core of industrial civilization, there has been an attempt by hydrocarbons to subdue rivers by modern technological know-how. Experience on the ground over the last 5-6 decades has demonstrated the futility of this effort. The golden promise to save the people of Bihar from the devastation caused by floods by breaking dams and embankments has proved to be a mere mirage.
Flood Havoc In Bihar
The second chapter focuses on the Koshi River. Its geography, the recent history of river behavior and the floods that have caused it, and the rupture of the eastern embankment at Kusha and the devastating catastrophe that occurred as a result of August 2008 are discussed in this chapter. Questions related to the actual factors behind the breach of the embankment and the government's responsibility for it have been raised in several quarters, but have not yet been answered. The people of the affected areas and several mass organizations blamed it on the government and local administration. If it is legitimate, the government and administration should take responsibility and punish the culprits. The Koshi floods of August 2008 rekindled the debate on the utility of dams and embankments in Bihar in the overall strategy of controlling floods and providing protection to the people in the affected areas. We have tried to delve deeper into these questions and discuss logic against dams and embankments and the politics behind it. This is the third chapter of the monograph.
Bihar Has A Relationship With Nepal, Not Only With Roti Beti, But Also With Water, River And Flood
The Holocaust following the Kusha violations, Koshi highlighted the inability of the government's administrative machinery to provide rescue and relief to the victims. It became clear that the successive governments of Bihar have not learned any lessons from past mistakes and have not been able to maintain the infrastructure for flood control. Political parties and leaders always care more for their vested interests than the affected population. Therefore, in the fourth chapter, we have raised the issue of floods and governance. The governance issue also has an international dimension. Therefore, in the fourth chapter, we have tried to delve into the issues of flood and flood management in the context of India-Nepal relations. It must be remembered that some experts believe that the flood of August 2008 could become such a big issue only due to the aspect of Nepal. This gave it an international dimension. We have tried to look at the relevance of old flood control policies in the context of new political conditions in Nepal.
However, it is not enough that we mention some preventive measures and present a different view of our own on the subject. When strong vested interests are active in favor of obsolete policies, governments do not accept new suggestions, simply because they seem more realistic and logical. For this, there will be pressure on governments and this can be done only when people can mobilize, raise their voice, and take accountability from state agencies. The fact of the matter is that we need mass mobilization to start people-oriented politics and governments are forced to listen to the wisdom of the people. But the question is, who will start this politics, or what is the point of starting it? In the sixth chapter, issues related to this question are discussed.
Flood connection with North Bihar is old. The geographical location of the region is such that it cannot be protected from flooding. Many rivers originating in the Himalayas descend into this region of Bihar via Nepal. This source of sweet water can also be a boon, but these rivers are also causing trouble in the rain. Koshi is one such river, which has suffered a lot due to its spasticity.
Flood Havoc In Bihar: Dam Broken Somewhere And Road Washed Away
The August 2008 flood in Koshi further deepened the question of the use of embankments and dams. In the third chapter, we have tried to look at the arguments in favor and opposition of embankments and what is the politics behind them. The Koshi floods exposed government negligence. If the entire situation is kept in mind then it becomes clear that the government is not ready to learn from the mistakes of the past, at the same time it does not take action on flood control measures, which takes care of political parties and leaders Huh. More than the public for their vested interests. In the fourth chapter, we have seen the flood and its relationship with governance. The matter related to government is the international dimension of this issue. Therefore, in this chapter, the aspect of India and Nepal related to the management of Koshi floods and floods is also considered. In fact, many experts believe that the August 2008 floods became such a big issue because the aspect of Nepal was related to it. This gave the flood an international dimension. We have tried to understand where the old flood control policies stand today and what their future amidst the new circumstances of Nepal is.
But it is not just a matter of discussing some measures or presenting a new point of view. When there are huge vested interests behind old policies and measures, the government will not be ready to accept them, although the suggestions are good, realistic and logical. Governments will be forced to do this. This can only happen when the public is aware and on the way to pressurize their demands. In fact, there is a need for a large gathering, which should start such public politics, before which governments have to bow down. But the question is, who will do these politics and where does it begin? Perhaps the most important aspect related to this issue is discussed in the sixth chapter.
This booklet has been prepared on the basis of experiences of many mass organizations, their pamphlets, their demands, the articles of experts published in the famous magazines of the country, news reports and observations and interactions with the experts. The list of references used in it is at the end of the booklet.
Bihar And Floods: Flood Is A Major Problem Of Bihar
One reason for Bihar's poverty is the devastation caused by floods every year. A large area of North Bihar is submerged in water every year, but every year this flood does not make that big news. Many experts say that the Koshi floods became a big news in 2008 as one aspect of Nepal was connected to it, it became an international issue, and the second Lok Sabha election was close as political parties were likely to join it. To get a political issue.
Farakka Barrage Is Not Opened, The Floods Of Ganga In 12 Districts Including Patna Will Lead To Worse Conditions
By the way, the problem of Bihar is not just 'Koshi'. If Bihar is to get relief, it will be achieved only when a complete strategy is made to deal with the floods in North Bihar. The region of North Bihar lies between the central-eastern part of the Indo-Nepal border, the Ghaghara River in the west and the Mahananda River in the east. This region is the catchment area of many large rivers. These rivers are - Ghaghara, Budhi Gandak, Bagmati, and Rivers of Adhwara group, Kamla Balan, Koshi and Mahananda. The area is spread over about 56 lakh hectares and is part of a vast galactic area. The rivers of the region later merge into the Ganges. Most of these rivers originate from the The Himalayas and pass through Nepal to North Bihar. These rivers change frequently in Bihar, especially during the rainy season. His management remains a major challenge even today.
During the rainy season, the water of these rivers starts increasing when there is heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the Himalayan plains and mountainous regions. If there is a windstorm in the Bay of Bengal, the rainfall that affects it also affects the water level of these rivers. Increasing water creates a flood situation and reports of breakage of embankments begin.
It is also a fact that in the last three decades, the highest floods in India have occurred in the plains of North Bihar. This means that flood control measures either did not work or failed after being effective for a short time. In such a situation, it should be accepted based on the experience of North Bihar and in fact, it is almost impossible to build a flood-free or complete control system for the entire country. Whatever programs should be put in place to deal with floods, it should be kept in mind that they should not try to instill a false belief in the safety of the people.
Experts suggest that these things should be kept in mind while preparing flood control programs: 1- The flood control program should be according to local conditions, 2 - the benefits should be more than they should be, and 3 - adverse to flood control stay away from the adverse effects of flood control means that these programs are. For example, changes in the course of the river, waterlogging in an area and increase in areas affected by flooding.
Flood, Drought And Starvation
After all, the previous governments and political parties of Bihar had not learned any lesson before this. That is why Bihar remains synonymous with poverty and plight. Natural disasters, especially floods have played a major role in this. By some estimates, a third of the state's population goes out of state and earn a living, never trying to understand the pain of this migration. Uprooting from their land, breaking ties with loved ones, being cut off from their culture and environment and living elsewhere - is the story of millions of people in Bihar. After all, who is responsible for this? Can political parties deny that the problems caused by floods in Bihar are the result of their criminal misrule and mismanagement?
There is a need to seriously discuss this issue and this aspect related to a natural disaster. Active social and political activists have been trying to get the attention of governments in Bihar for decades, but for the ruling and opposition parties this question is nothing more than a matter of blame. No matter who is in power, this does not change the situation. After the Koshi floods, when these activists gathered in Patna to discuss floods and starvation, the situation in Bihar became a bit clearer. Here we are presenting the important issues presented in that conversation-
The state of hunger in North Bihar is associated with floods and drought in South Bihar, but everyone is silent on this question in Bihar. If we consider the discussions held in the Vidhan Sabha in the last five years, it becomes clear that there has neither been any discussion on the question of hunger nor any question has been raised, hunger is not an issue in politics, especially politics Election in
The reality is that one cause of starvation is flooding, but in the event of a flood, there is also starvation, meaning there are other causes, but political parties are insensitive to the issue.
Therefore, social workers need to bring the problem of hunger to the center of today's politics. The state of starvation caused by floods should also be brought into politics. If the problem of starvation cannot be solved in parliamentary politics, how should this problem be resolved?
Engineers who came to inspect the embankment of Bagmati River had told that embankment could not be made on the Bagmati River. But an embankment was built on Bagmati. First, the local leaders gave contracts to their people, then took a commission. That is, whenever a dam or embankment is planned, corruption starts. Leaders take a commission from BDO and Collector, even they took a commission in Indira Awas Yojana.
A middleman has been created between government officials and leaders. Flood is an industry for all of them. To keep this industry running, they always face some problems. The breakup of Baghmati’s dam led to pits at various places and spread far and wide, but no team came to investigate it. With no initiative in such cases, people leave farming and move to other states, thus floods and starvation are related to each other.
Whether or not the embankment is built is also being discussed. Social activists expressed the opinion that the livelihood of about 99 percent of flood experts in Bihar and the country is running with this issue, more than the government, they are responsible for the floods. Ask the mass organizations and agitators working on the issue of a flood, if you study it, you will find that the same experts are responsible for the mistakes made by the government. These people never connected the general public to the debate on the question of floods. The more technical debate, the more the common man will be cut off from it, the real social workers will be cut off from it.
This opinion of the social worker points to several aspects related to the flood and its management. This emerges from the fact that flood is not only a problem, but it is also the cause of a big problem like starvation. It emerges from the second point that flooding is not just a natural disaster, but a political question. Till this question will not be brought to the center of mainstream and politics, people-oriented policies of flood management will not be formed. The third point is that the debate related to floods is not only technical but also questions related to honorable and common people. The methods of flood management could not achieve their objective, in which public opinion was not taken before adoption. Therefore, it has become extremely important to adopt a holistic approach to flood control and management, in which the government, scientific and technical people as well as the common people are concerned.
Koshi River Flood Background
Koshi which occupies a large area of Nepal and India. That is, it is a river that flows in two countries, its catchment area is spread over 95,646 square kilometers. The area passes through Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga to the Ganges River. But before joining the Ganges, Koshi comprises several major rivers of Bihar, such as Kamla, Bagmati, Budhi Gandak and Bhuti Balan. Before landing in Chatra, the Koshi River has traveled 48 kilometers in the Terai of Nepal. It then divides into 15 streams in North Bihar. In the last two hundred years, this river has slid more than 150 kilometers from east to west in north Bihar.
Seven major rivers meet in Koshi in Nepal, hence in Nepal, it is called Sapta Koshi. From its source, Koshi covers a distance of 729 km until it meets the Ganges. Of this, 260 km is in India.
The average flow of water in Koshi is 1,564 cubic meters per second. At the time of the flood, this flow increases 18-fold. According to available data, the worst floods occurred in Koshi in August 1968, when the water flow was 25,878 cubic meters per second. Earlier, there was another severe flood in August 1954, when it saw 24,200 cubic meters per second water flow.
According to engineer and flood expert Dinesh Kumar Mishra, “Maps of the various streams of Koshi have been available since the early 18th century. The flow of this river flowing in 15 different streams from one stream to another was due to the silt coming into it. In the 1950s, our politicians and engineers dared to flow such a river into a stream. The river whose water and silt flowed in 15 streams in one stream, was reduced to one stream.
Every year in Koshi, water increases during the rainy season. During the monsoon season from June to September, the catchment area of Koshi receives strong rainfall, although the situation is not the same every year. Cloudbursts are common in the Koshi Falls region, during which rains up to 500 mm may occur in a day. According to experts, this trend showing in the catchment area is one of the reasons for Koshi's unique and dangerous behavior.
As stated above, one reason for Koshi's constant havoc is the silt coming into his water. Large-scale debris goes into rivers during cloudbursts. Incidents of land disturbance are common in the mountain. It also brings water and silt into the river. All these incidents happen suddenly and there is not much time to warn people who are under the possibility of flooding.
In the last sixty years, the pace of melting of glaciers in the Himalayas has increased. Due to this, there is a sudden boom in the lakes formed by melting ice. This causes the water to reach the rivers at a rapid pace and also the debris created by the breaking of the lakes. When the floods of these rivers reach the bottom, water and silt create havoc in the fields and settlements. Studies have shown that Koshi brings 120 million cubic meters of silt every year, of which 95 percent comes during monsoon days. (Ajay Dixit, EPW, 7 February 2009)
East Koshi Embankment Breaks Over Kusha
In August 2008, Koshi's havoc spread over a large area of Bihar. Koshi was once called the mourning of Bihar. When this river flowed in Purnia district, there was a popular saying that 'eat poison or eat mature, go to Purnia if you want to die'. It was the nature of this river that it kept changing its course. When its attitude would change, it was difficult to guess. So people were afraid of it.
But this is when it was believed that it is difficult to avoid the wrath of nature. Later embankments were built along the river and arrangements were made to protect the people from floods. But in 2008, Koshi's vicious appearance was seen once again. And with this, the arrangements made to stop the flood once again came under question. Man has failed to try to tie the river, it became clear once again. On August 18, 2008, a crack in the Kusha embankment in Nepal caused flooding. This affected 8 districts of Bihar. These districts are - Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Purnia, Araria, Katihar, Khagaria and Navagachia (Police District). According to government figures, 527 people lost their lives and more than 3.5 million people were victims of the devastation. However, many mass organizations working in the Koshi region consider the death toll as three and a half thousand to 20 thousand. The floods rendered millions of people homeless. The livelihood of lakhs. Crops standing on one lakh six hectares of land were destroyed. The damage was so great that the central government had to declare the Koshi flood as a national disaster. The Bihar government estimated a loss of Rs 9,000 crore during the floods. On 16 September 2008, the task force sent by the central government spoke of a loss of Rs 25,000 crore. The Bihar government demanded Rs 14,500 crore for the reconstruction. Many organizations say that the loss is above one lakh crore rupees, while the central government has given only one thousand crore rupees.
Thousands of animals died due to floods. The pond was washed away, causing the fish to die. This affected the employment of millions of people. What will people do in this situation? About 1.2 million people migrated from Bihar. The government was paralyzed amid the destruction. For two weeks, the government had no place in the flood-affected areas. The government later claimed that it sheltered six and a half million people in relief camps, but the question is what happened to the rest of the people when the flood disaster killed 3 lakh people. Why was he not aware of this? The opposition certainly saw its political advantage in the floods and the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav operated 160 free trains. So that the flood victims can go out of that area. Many had taken shelter in coaches of trains for several weeks. When the flood was spreading, many people saved their lives by hanging from tree twigs. For many days, people stayed in that state hungry or thirsty, or they continued to save people's lives.
In those days of tribulation, if the people had any support, it was themselves or their society. The only way to help each other was to escape many of them who did not return until a year later. He used to take the news of his home and village by phone, but after learning that it is difficult to live life after returning, he gave up his intention to return.
Flood damage figures, which do not include the long-term effects of flooding, are included in the figure. Many experts have said that due to floods the fields will remain barren for a long time, due to which people will have to face the plight. Flooded sand and silt fry the fields.
Flood Problem And Governance Challenges
Therefore, no precaution is taken beforehand. When Koshi was flooded in August 2008, areas, where the floodwaters had not reached for a long time, were submerged. Due to the flash floods, the people there were left in a can. He had neither a means of defense nor any preparedness to deal with such a situation. Those millions took it as destiny and took satisfaction.
But she was careless in the hospital. This made it clear that governments that argued for science and modern inventions to build large dams and embankments made no preparations to make efficient arrangements to protect flood victims and victims. In these cases, they leave everything to nature. Molested by nature, she leaves you helpless to face her anger. This has been happening in North Bihar for decades. There was a lot of noise due to the flood of Koshi, but there is no hope that there will be any change in these conditions.
It is also clear from the dialogue between social workers and victims that political parties are directly responsible for the plight of the people. Common people suffer as a result of their vested interests and wrong decisions. Now the direct question from the actors of both the state and central governments is that after the flood, political leaders have worn the mask of naivety and argued that what could the administration do when the river changed its course? But he did not understand the need to explain how the direction of the river changed even when an embankment was made to control the stream of the river.
The truth is that almost every year government money comes in the name of maintenance of embankments, increasing their height, strengthening them and building new embankments, which are leveraged by contractors and brokers associated with political parties. These contractors and brokers are election-time leaders. Therefore, the leader, whatever it is, does not dare to hurt the interests of the contractor and the brokers. Perhaps this is why leaders ignore every question raised on the policy adopted so far to prevent floods.
Even the comments of the National Commission in this regard were ignored. The Commission stated that no systematic study of the usefulness of embankments has been done. This has been a chronic complaint of social workers. They believe that the effectiveness of flood prevention measures was never surveyed according to the socio-economic conditions of their society, nor was there any attempt to connect the common people with this process. Whereas in 2004, the Prime Minister's Task Force on Flood Management and Erosion Control recommended encouraging community participation in the maintenance of embankments.
Under the influence of vested interests and the policies that have been separated from the people, the result is that despite the side effects of the embankments, no question has been asked at the government level even today. The fact is that the ideas about embankments that existed at the government level in the 1950s are still prevalent today. It was then believed that floods could be prevented through embankments and high dams. It was a period of complete confidence in development policy based on modern technology and large constructions.
But by the 1980s, experts began to question this policy. In the context of North Bihar, he pointed out that to prevent flooding there, dams on rivers originating from the Himalayas were considered as a measure, under which large reservoirs were thought to prevent water overflow. . But experts said that due to the geological and seismic conditions of that area, these dams can pose a major risk. Then the construction of a huge reservoir is not possible due to the narrow valley further limiting the long-term and economic benefits of silt reservoirs in rivers.
All these things had no effect on the thinking of governments. In 2007, the Bihar government sought special assistance of more than Rs 17 thousand crore from the Central Government for flood control scheme. It was said that this amount would be spent on removing silt from embankments and rivers. On the other hand, the National Democratic Alliance government at the center came up with a plan to solve floods and droughts by connecting various rivers. Many rivers of Bihar were also to be included in this plan.
Solve The Problem
The issue is how to save the people of North Bihar from suffering from floods every year. Many demands have arisen in this regard, which can now be presented in concrete form.
It is clear that if no lessons have been learned from the Kusha incident, then it is also difficult to think of protecting people from disasters from floods. The first requirement is that the embankments that have been constructed should be properly maintained and constantly monitored if there is a crack and immediate measures are not taken to fill it, who will be responsible for it. Decisions should be made in advance. Immediate issues related to rescue and relief in disaster situations. Based on experiences in the Koshi region, social workers made some special demands. These demands are still relevant and given the current situation, it can be said that they will remain so in the coming years. According to him, the Central Government enacted the National Disaster Relief Act. It should clarify the provisions for declaring a situation as a national disaster. What becomes the responsibility of the Center and the states after a national disaster is declared, should also be cleared. That is, it should be clear that in case of a critical situation, it would be considered a national disaster and what steps would be taken for relief in that situation.
- There is a need to identify who is responsible for the August 2008 floods. For this, many mass organizations have since been demanding a CBI inquiry, in fact, this demand is an important demand of the mass movement in that area.
It is also very important to construct or not to build embankments to advance the existing embankments. But the most important thing immediately is that the current embankment is not guaranteed to break. Special arrangements for repair and monitoring should be made for this. In addition, it should be clearly decided who will be responsible if a breach occurs in an embankment. Legislation should be enacted to punish those responsible for breaking the embankment.
An independent commission should be set up to assess the damage caused by floods.
The government should pay full compensation to the victims of eight districts who suffered the loss of life, household goods, animal husbandry, employment, industry, trade, gardens, ponds and ponds, etc. due to the flood of August 2008.
- The roads drain, rail tracks, schools, hospitals, post offices, playgrounds, pastures, community buildings etc. damaged by the floods of August 2008 should be rebuilt as soon as possible.
Special relief work should be continued till alternative means of livelihood are available to the workers.
Special and new loans should be arranged for these areas.
Based on the experiences of the last five decades, the advantages and disadvantages of embankments should be thoroughly assessed and the affected families due to embankments should be compensated for the loss of movable and real estate.
In addition, public organizations have also raised some other demands, for example,
Disaster warnings should be given in flood-affected villages.
-A Disaster Management Authority should be established to take immediate action on mistakes in flood management and ensure the distribution of relief material as per the laid down rules. The responsibility of ensuring transparency in the budget and expenses of government agencies on disaster management should also be entrusted to this authority. Apart from these demands related to relief and rescue, mass organizations have also made some suggestions to reduce the flood power of the Koshi River.
BIHAR FLOOD SINCE 1979
According to reports, 8570 people died due to various reasons related to the flood. 25,776 cattle and animals were killed. 7.70 Crore hectares of land were submerged in floodwaters. Crops were damaged on 3.74 crore hectares of land. 7969 crore has been lost due to crop failure. 1.15 Crore houses have been damaged. The loss of 4151 crores has been caused by the breakdown of public buildings.
The most dangerous flood in Bihar so far
2016: 12 districts badly hit by floods. More than 2.3 million people affected. More than 250 people died.