Amid drought cry, flood likely to grip North Bihar, as Cofferdam collapses thrice in 10 days
Bihar, Ground Report

Ground Report: Amid drought cry, flood likely to grip North Bihar, as Cofferdam collapses thrice in 10 days

After epidemic outbreak, the natural disaster has taken the turn to haunt north Bihar region. Muzaffarpur district of Bihar is on brim of devastating flood as continuous heavy rain for five days has caused the main river Bagmati to overflow. A cofferdam on Bagmati river embankment in Muzaffarpur’s Aurai block decimated causing flood in nearby villages.

The Cofferdam ceased thrice in 10 days making the surrounding region prone to flood. Seeing the threat, district authorities have alerted the locals and those residing near bank of Bagmati. The officials of water resource department have been camping with team of engineers, supervisors and watchmen near Benipur village since two weeks ensuring maximum availability of sand bags, pebble bags ,etc. The state water resource department has also issued an alert to engineers to undertake patrolling along the embankment sites.

The cofferdam was erected to align the new course of Bagmati with its old course but heavy current of the river hindered the task. Cofferdam is a watertight enclosure pumped dry to permit construction work below the waterline

Bagmati flows from Nepal to India. River Bagmati originates in Kathmandu valley of Nepal, crosses into India at Dheng (Bihar), flows in northern parts of Bihar and confluences in river Kosi. Before entering into India it covers 195 km in Nepal and drains water from an area of 7884 sq KMs.

Flood water has entered villages namely Benipur, Fatehpur, Chainpur as there is heavy downpour that led to substantial rise in water level of Bagmati, Gandak and Budhi Gandak rivers. Subsidiary rivers such as Baya, Mahi, Gandki and Lakhandai are in full spate and rising menacingly.

Embankments along these rivers passing through Bettiah, Bagahan, Motihari, Chanpatia, Runi saidpur, Aurai, Katra, and Benibad are under constant threat owing to rise of rivers and erosion at various points.

Soil erosion in Gaighat block of Muzaffarpur is underway which is marked as flood prone zone by district officials.

Thrice cave in of the cofferdam exposes the ill attitude of officials and administration towards threat of flood.

“Villagers of Benipur and adjoining villages are in state of shock and fear as the cofferdam has collapsed thrice in short span of time. According to officials, Rs. 24 crores was invested to make arrangements safeguarding the long stretch of embankment of Bagmati but originally the expenditure would not have crossed sum of Rs. 2 crore. Due to corruption, we are facing an existential threat against flood,” said, Rakesh Singh of Benipur village.

Even ward members had same opinion of siphoning off public money which was meant to control flood damage.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) this monsoon, Bihar has received 333mm of rainfall between July 1st to July 12th. Nepal has not yet released its water through Valmikinagar barrage which may lead to flood-like situation.

Muzaffarpur district magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh has asked personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to rush to the vulnerable areas. The DM has also ordered block development officers and circle officers of flood-hit areas to arrange for boats, food and medicines.

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