DateLine Koshi

A few days back I had  gone  to  my  native  place, Mahishi. After completing  the Pooja rituals and  pleasantries  exchanged  with  Badi  Bhabhi  and  others   left  for Saharsa. On  return  journey  visited   a small  stretch  of  eastern Koshi  embankment passing  through the   outskirts  of  my  village. The  Koshi  flood, sufferings of  the  displaced  families, breaches  in the  embankment  since  1984, miserable  failure  of  the  Bihar  government in  rehabilitation  measures, a new  culture  of  government  relief taking  monstrous dimensions,  and  at  the  same  time  new civilization  and  cultures  emerging in  make-shift   hutment  colonies  coming  up  on  spurs and downstream of  embankments, and  more  emphatically  and  extensively,  the unrestricted  corruption in bureaucracy and their  strong  nexus with local   political  big-wigs  have  been  my   favourite  topics  in   journalism.   So, standing  on eastern  koshi  embankment along with  my  family members,  I was  filled  with    strange  emotions —-  typical  nostalgia  I plunged  in  and   in   flashback rushed  in the heart-rending  scenes of  women  and children   floating  on  flowing  flood  water helplessly  as  nobody  could  dare dive  into  the  flood water  to  rescue  them, three  old  persons  husband  wife  and  a family    friend  taking  shelter  in a  tree-trunk all  night ,children   crying, struggling and  fighting  for  air-dropped  relief  materials   relief  camps  jam-packed  with  displaced persons ,  diarrhoea- dysentery  plaguing the   flood  victims  and to cap it all, a trail of tragic  consequences caused  by  the  complete  loss  of everything—– no  exaggeration, they  have lost  literally everything.

                         I was  really  shocked to  see   the middle  part  of  the  koshi’s  womb  completely empty  and  dry  with  no  water  in  the  river-bed.   People living  in between  the  two  koshi embankments have  heaved a sigh of relief temporarily. But  situation can  turn  alarming with  expected high  release  of  water  from  the  Koshi  barrage, According   to  the flood  victims, there  has  been a menacing  increase  in the  level  of  the  river-bed   due  to  the    enormous  quantity  of  silt   brought  every  year(since the  construction of  barrage   and  embankments)  by  the  Koshi  river.  As the  water containing  capacity  of  the  river  bed  has  declined  substantially  , the release of  even smaller  quantity  can prove  disastrous.  “ kal  tak  to  chaar  lakh  cusec  paani  chhodne  per  baarh ki  ggambhirta  dikhaayee  deti thi..Ab  to  2  lakh   cusec  paani  chhodne per  rooh  kaanpne  lagti  hei . Is  ilaake  ko  to bhagwaan hi  bachaa  sakte  hein.”

                                    It’s  a  matter  of  some satisfaction  that  the newly  appointed  madam  collector  has geared  up  the  administrative  machinery  for  flood  protection and relief  operations. But we  will  have  to  wait  and  see  how  far  she  succeeds  in  combating  the  flood  this  year. God bless her in her mission !                                              

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *