PATNA: As rainfall in the catchment areas of rivers originating in Nepal has begun to increase, state water resources department (WRD) principal secretary Afzal Amanullah will embark on a three-day intensive tour of the eastern Bihar districts this month to make an on-the-spot assessment of the arrangements made to combat flood in the Gangetic and Kosi river basins.
Amanullah would first assess the level of department's preparedness in Samastipur, Begusarai and Khagaria districts and in Naugachhia area of northern Bhagalpur, followed by that in Araria and Supaul districts, and finally, at Birpur barrage on the Indo-Nepal border, where the Nepal government this year agreed to hand over to Bihar WRD the work regarding raising and strengthening of the eastern Kosi afflux embankment over the 15-km stretch in its territory in concurrence with the Indian government.
According to WRD sources, Amanullah's tour itinerary is being finalized. Incidentally, the breach in the eastern Kosi afflux embankment at Kusaha in Nepal had resulted in catastrophic flood in August 2008, ravaging six districts of eastern Bihar - Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Araria, Purnia and Katihar - apart from forcing thousands of people to seek shelter in mega refugee camps set up in the districts concerned.
Besides, during the floods last year, the anti-erosion work undertaken near Vikramshila bridge across the Ganga in Ismailpur block in northern part of Bhagalpur district could not sustain the pressure of water in the Ganga, resulting in partial damage to embankment. The WRD headquarters took action against both the agency involved in the anti-erosion work and also against a couple of government engineers.
On July 4 midnight this year, a minor breach occurred in the western Kosi embankment near Hanuman Nagar in Nepal, as the locals scoured the embankment soil for their use.
This negligence on the part of WRD engineers deployed at Birpur led to the suspension of four engineers and show-cause notices to two others.