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 Kosi river basin in Bihar is facing its biggest ever flood disaster ever, and that disaster has come about completely due to the neglect of the Government of India and the government of Bihar. It is a man made disaster which could have been avoided.