Patna: The Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) of India has indicted the Nitish Kumar government in
Bihar for not resolving problems at Kusaha in Nepal that led
to a breach in the Eastern Kosi afflux bundh (EAB) causing
massive floods in August, 2008.
In its report for the period ended on March 31, 2009, the
CAG said the Kosi region comprising the districts of Araria,
Madhepura, Purnia, Saharsa and Supaul faced a massive flood
due to the breach in the bundh.
The Second Irrigation Commission, 1994 had suggested
measures to minimise the siltation in the Kosi river which was
heavier than any other rivers in India, the report, which was
tabled by Deputy Chief Minister S K Modi in the state Assembly
The Sub-divisional Officer, Saharsa Sadar in a letter to
the DM, Saharsa in February 2008 had apprehended that river
Kosi might change course suddenly due to heavy siltation and
revert to its old course through Purnia or Saharsa division
after a breach in the upstream of Kosi barrage.
The DM, Saharsa had intimated this to the Principal
Secretary, DMD (March 2008), but the action taken by the
department either in view of the measures suggested by the
Second Irrigation Commission or on the report of the DM,
Saharsa was not on record, it noted.
The WRD relied on short term measures like construction
of embankments, execution of anti-erosion work and other
structural means which resulted in accumulation of silt in
areas adjacent to the Kosi barrage, causing a gradual change
in the river`s course, it said.
Before the floods of 2008, the department had also
curtailed, in February 2008, the flood protection proposals
EAB division, Kusaha and the Headworks division, Birpur.
The records indicated that erosion had started at 12.90
km spur of EAB from 5 August 2008 and the breach occurred on
18 August 2008.
During the period, the WRD neither sorted out the problem
related to the dispute of the labour contractor, hindering the
flood protection work nor protected the embankments.
There was also lack of co-ordination with the Nepalese
authorities at a meeting of the joint committee of the Kosi
project for execution of flood protection work which was held
after a delay of three years in June 2009, it said.
A meeting of the local district administration and the
Nepalese authorities on safety arrangements of Kosi embankment
was held in July 2009.
The CAG said by not considering the long term measures
and curtailing short term measures and delay in holding joint
committee/local administration meetings indicated that
embankment safety measures were not properly attended to
either by the DMD or by the WRD, the main line department.
The deficiencies contributed to the Kosi disaster which
affected 33.29 lakh people, it said.