The swollen Saptakoshi River has eroded Shreelanka Tappu, an island made in the middle of the river, putting the human settlement here at risk and leaving the locals terrified.

The river has threatened the settlements in Chilaiya and Garaiya regions of the island in Sunsari's Barahachhetra Municipality-6 and 9. The river is causing worst erosion on its five-km stretch from Udayapur's Belaka Municipality-8, Dumribote to Shreelanka Tappu.

At places, the river has eroded up to one-km land over the years from the point where it was flowing.

"The river has already encroached some part of the island and putting our houses at risk, but nobody cares for us," said youth Santosh Kumar Chandrabanshi.

As per the Koshi Agreement, it is upon the Bihar government to construct an embankment here, but the Indian government hasn't bothered to build an embankment or anything of that sort so far.

Regarding the threat from the river to the island, Barahachhetra Municipality Mayor Nilam Khanal said the provincial government had been notified about the risk.

"We will raise the issue of encroachment in the upcoming meeting of local levels' chiefs to be held at the invitation of the Bihar government," Khanal said.

Prior to the start of the monsoon season this year, Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai had observed the erosion caused by the Saptakoshi River in Belaka Municipality.

Even Law Minister Hikmat Karki is said to have monitored the river-encroached sites.

"From chief ministers to ministers and others came to monitor the situation here but nothing has happened so far towards controlling the river, which is so unfortunate," said Sushant Rai of Belaka Municipality-8.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 14 2021, of The Himalayan Times.