Blocked river in Nepal raises fear of flood in UP

The fear of floods in parts of Uttar Pradesh has emerged with Nepali authorities warning about chances of the bursting of an artificial lake, created after the Kali Gandaki river got blocked by a massive landslide early on Sunday.

Kathmandu: The fear of floods in parts of Uttar Pradesh has emerged with Nepali authorities warning about chances of the bursting of an artificial lake, created after the Kali Gandaki river got blocked by a massive landslide early on Sunday.

Nepali authorities opened the gates of Gandak Barrage, located on the Nepal-India border, on Sunday after the Kali Gandaki was blocked in the western Nepali Myagdi district.

Known as Kali Gandaki or Gandaki in the hilly region, Narayani in the southern plain and Gandak in India, it is a left bank tributary of the Ganges.

"There are chances of the artificial lake -- created in the river by the landslide -- bursting any time... we have, therefore, urged the Indian side to remain alert," said Hari Prasad Mainali, the chief district officer of Nepal`s Nawalparasi district.

At least 20 villages in the district have also been asked to remain alert, Mainali added.

About 95 percent flow of the river has stopped due to the landslips, which have resulted in the formation of an about four-km-long and 200-metre-thick artificial dam with a pondage of about 1.7 million cubic litres of water.

Security personnel have been deployed on the river banks, urging people to remain alert as the river could burst at any time.

Nawalparasi is a bordering district of Nepal withIndia and the Gandak project is also located in the same district.

Nepal and India had signed an agreement on December 4, 1959, which came in force in 1964, to construct the project comprising a barrage, canal head regulators and other appurtenant works below the existing Triveni Canal Head Regulator and of taking out canal systems for purposes of development of irrigation and power for Nepal and India.

As part of this bilateral agreement, the Gandak Barrage -- part of Gandak Project over the Gandak river -- is meant to provide irrigation to Nepal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Some parts of northern India like West Champaran, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Saran, Siwan and Gopalganj are getting irrigation facilities from the Gandak project.

Nepal has already issued alert warning in seven districts -- Syangja, Parbat, Myagdi, Baglung, Gulmi, Palpa and Nawalparasi -- downstream on the river.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in western Nepal started moving to higher regions after the massive landslide blocked Kali Gandaki and buried 26 houses in a village, officials here said. There was no immediate report of any casualty.

A total of 123 people have been shifted to safer places.

The blockage was first noticed early Sunday at Baisari village in Bhagwati Village Development Committee (VDC) of Myagdi district.

The flood forecasting division of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology has appealed to the residents of settlements in Nepal`s seven districts -- Syangja, Parbat, Myagdi, Baglung, Gulmi, Palpa and Nawalparasi -- through which the river flows to remain alert.

Rishi Ram Sharma, director general of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) said the normal water flow recorded in the Kali Gandaki river is 50 cumecs (cubic metres per second).

A team of Nepal Army, landslide experts, technicians and security personals have been deployed to release the water from the artificial lake but they could not make it happen so far due to recurrent landslips.

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