Gautam wakes up to flood reality, far-west in same league as east

Kathmandu, October 23:

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam has said the government would come up with a “special plan” within a week for reconstruction of physical infrastructure and rehabilitation of people hit hard by recent floods and landslides in the far-western region.

Speaking in the House yesterday, Gautam said the plan would ensure equal treatment for the far-west’s flood victims and Koshi flood victims. The minister was responding to queries of CA members after Ramesh Lekhak, a CA member from the Nepali Congress, presented a proposal to alleviate woes of the far-west’s flood-hit.

Informing the House about his meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday morning, he said, “I and the Prime Minister dwelt on rehabilitation and reconstruction package for the flood-hit region.

He has agreed to my idea,” said Gautam. “The government would support Lekhak’s proposal.”

The House passed the proposal unanimously.

Lekhak had urged the government to focus on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-hit. The CA member had stressed the need to rebuild infrastructure, distribute seeds to the affected farmers for free, provide soft loan to the flood victims and waive local taxes and land revenue tax.

Gautam said the blockage of the India-built Kailashpuri Barrage on the Karnali close to the Nepal-India international border was the main cause of flooding in the far-west’s Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.

“When I came to know about inundation in the districts, I contacted the Indian ambassador, Rakesh Sood, and asked him to facilitate the opening of all 124 gates of the barrage. Sood established contact with his government in New Delhi, and also with the UP state government.

Water level started receding after gates were opened three days after the flooding on September 23,” said the Home Minister.

Seventy-six people lost their lives while property worth billions, including the standing crops, was damaged in the flooding that occurred due to the worst downpour of the season in the far-west.

Yesterday, the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party had boycotted the House proceedings for the fourth consecutive day, demanding the formation of a judicial panel to probe the murder of three of its cadres in Kapilvastu and Bara district last week. TMDP leaders accused Maoist cadres of involvement in the killing.