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Water accumulation increases at Bhote Kosi in Nepal

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 01:11

Patna: With accumulation of water behind the blocked Bhote Kosi, tributary of the Kosi River in Nepal, rising to 32 lakh cusecs on Sunday from 25 lakh cusecs earlier and the threat of deluge looming large over Bihar, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said the "situation may turn fearsome".
"Right now the situation is looking normal because the discharge of water is low. But water accumulation at the blocked Bhote Kosi has increased anywhere between 28 and 32 lakh cusecs. If the dam that has come into existence due to landslide there breaks then the situation may turn fearsome," Manjhi said.

Talking to mediapersons after an aerial survey along the route of Kosi from Khagaria to Birpur barrage, he said water is being discharged in the river after three or four controlled blasts at the place where the tributary is blocked, but the amount is less.

"We are prepared to tackle the situation. Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have been deployed. People are being evacuated to relief camps. We are appealing to those who are left behind to move out as adequate arrangements of police have been made to safeguard their houses and property," Manjhi said.

The Chief Minister pointed out people are hopeful that the Kosi embankment will not breach as its width has reached up to 1 km. He said the embankment will not be allowed to be breached in any case.

He also said there was no danger to Birpur barrage, which has a capacity of 9 lakh cusecs of water. All the 56 gates of the barrage have been opened to protect it if there is a very heavy flow of water down the Kosi.

Manjhi said he has talked to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on the imminent flood threat, and they have promised all help from the Centre.

The situation of imminent flood developed after a massive
landslide blocked the main course of Bhote Kosi River at Jure in Sindhupalchok district of Nepal on Friday. The place is located north of Kathmandu and is around 260 KM from Indo-Nepal border.

The landslide cut loose huge portions of surrounding mountains, which fell on the river and resulted in almost a km long dam on it.

As a result, a huge lake has formed behind it, containing 28 to 32 lakh cusecs of water and Nepal government is trying to blast it since then.

Bihar government had issued a high alert yesterday and ordered evacuation of people living in low-lying areas close to Kosi, especially in the wide stretches between the river and the flood protection embankment, saying a 10-metre high wall of water could gush down the river when the accumulated water becomes free.

Meanwhile, the state government evacuated people living in the area between the Kosi and its embankments. This is considered as the danger zone if the water wall rushes down the river.

Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Vyasji said, "We have evacuated around 50,000 people so far, while many people have left the danger zone on their own. Around 1.5 lakh people inhabit this area."

Vyasji said the water level and quantity or flow of water has been noticed to be increasing in the Kosi downstream from Nepal to Bihar. This may lead to a dangerous situation if there is a sudden and heavy discharge of water in the river.

He also said experts believe that even if the entire Bhote Kosi blockage is blasted and the vast amount of water gushes down to Kosi, only one-fourth of it will reach Bihar.

He said 1,500 personnel of NDRF, 500 Army men and 400 personnel of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed to help in the evacuation. The forces are fully geared to tackle floods.

First Published: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 01:11

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