Over the last three days, flood victims in North Bihar have been combating government apathy and police oppression through sustained protest and mass action. Pragoti presents three news items from IANS and INN on the protests.
Floods are a perennial problem in Bihar. The very same water source that acts as the life-blood for the agriculture-dependent population in the state, turns into an avalanche of death and misery every year. And every year, as this natural disaster strikes, it evokes temporary attention to the plight of the victims and soon to be forgotten government commissions and helicopter visits by the bourgeois polity. But once the shock value of the images fades away, all is forgotten even if misery is compounded and the people are made to brace up for the next year's natural fury. Such is the case of floods in Bihar. The Kosi river- a dynamic, sediment carrying water body is particularly driven to course-changes and therefore to put paid any plans to tame the river (through the embankment strategy that has been adopted for years). That the fact that this river originates across national borders in Nepal makes the problem even more complicated. Four experts - whose intros are provided in the post- with substantial understanding of the problem through different forms of expertise weigh on the Kosi tragedy and the perennial woes of river management and floods. They even venture to offer solutions. Pragoti hosts the links to these articles published in the Economic and Political Weekly.
The floods in the river Kosi seem to come and go at their own will as it happened again this year and nobody seems any the wiser. A short story by PHANISHWARNATH RENU,written 50 years ago, on the annual ritual and the mileage that politicians get out of it. Translated from the Hindi by Rakhshanda Jalil.
Courtesy: Hindu Literary Review
IN what must be termed as the worst natural calamity to hit the country in recent memory, the floods in Bihar caused by the shift in the course of the flow of river Kosi, have affected more than two crores of people, rendering more than 20 lakh homeless in 15 of the most densely-populated districts of the state. Worse is the fact that the agony continues and is expected to continue till the waters recede many months later, not before January 2009. An INN editorial.
The Kosi, bursting through its embankment at Kusaha in Nepal, has swung 120 km eastwards, changing the lives of thousands of people.
The overflowing Kosi had, as of end-August, wreaked destruction on more than three million people living in north and east Bihar. A field visit reports on the misery of the affected, haphazard rescue efforts and criminal exploitation of the uprooted. The immediate task is to improve relief operations and then provide support to the displaced who will not be able to find work until the 2009 kharif season. A blame game is now in operation, but since the early 1960s whichever the party in power, the people of Bihar have been affected by official apathy towards the embankments on the Kosi. This time it is a clear case of dereliction of duty by the state government in repairing upstream barrages before the monsoon of 2008 that has resulted in devastation. Dinesh Kumar Mishra writes in the Economic and Political Weekly. Courtesy: EPW. Image, courtesy: PTI
बाढ़ से बिहार का पुराना रिश्ता है. इसके मैदानी भागों का तो निर्माण ही बाढ़ के दौरान लाई गई गाद से हुआ है. धरती की आतंरिक हलचल के फलस्वरूप १०-१२ लाख साल पहले जब हिमालय पर्वत अस्तित्व में आया, तो उसके और भारतीय प्रायद्वीप के बीच टीथिस सागर लहराता था. हिमालय से निकली नदियों द्वारा लाई गई गाद से टीथिस सागर क्रमशः भरता गया और गंगा-ब्रह्मपुत्र के मैदानी भागों का निर्माण हुआ. बिहार के मैदानी भागों का निर्माण इसी दौरान हुआ.