Flood fear looms in Banke villages

Nepalgunj, July 4:

With the onset of monsoon the water level in Rapti river has been rising but construction of only 156 meters of the proposed 1.2-km embankment along the river is complete, leaving the villages in Holiya VDC at risk of floods.

Though flooding is a perennial problem in this VDC, the construction of the embankment aimed at protecting the villagers from flood began in April.

Last year, the Water Induced Disaster Reduction Office had constructed embankment along the river at a cost of Rs 5 million but the river washed it away, leaving 300 households in Simrahana, Chhitipurwa and Raghunathpur villages inundated.

The officials at the disaster reduction office themselves are not sure whether the new embankment would help protect the villages from inundation.

“We have completed construction of 156 meters of embankment along the river. If we finish the construction soon, we may be able to protect the villages,” engineer Sanjay Kumar Karna said. “The construction of embankment started on April 8,” chief of the Nepalgunj-based disaster reduction office Gauri Shankar Prasad Singh said.

“We had forwarded a proposal to the Department of Irrigation seeking Rs 80.5 million for the construction of the 1.2-km embankment. But, the department approved only Rs 7.5 million,” he said. Separate committees were formed in Pipraha and Tepari to coordinate the construction of the embankment.

Asharam Maurya, a member of one of the committees, said, “There is a slim chance of protecting the villages even if 1.2-km embankment is constructed. Water level in Rapti has been increasing.”

The local administration said it had expedited preparation for resettlement of villagers. “We have demanded over 300 tents,” Banke CDO Narendraraj Sharma said.