Holiya folks seek respite from swollen Rapti

Nepalgunj, July 30:

As the swollen Rapti river began eroding their land, locals of Holiya VDC visited the Nepalgunj-based Banke district administration office today and urged officials to resettle them at safer places. They said they came to the district headquarters after the local administration and government remained apathetic to their woes.

“We are here to draw the attention of the DAO to our plight” panicked locals of Holiya VDC said. The river has put nearly 300 families of Piprahawa Ward No 7, Khadaicha Ward No 8, Kadhaipurawa village of Holiya VDC at risk.

With flooding in the river, the Water-Induced Disaster Control Office has halted construction of an embankment along Rapti. Omkar Baniya of Holiya said their woes have not been addressed for years. “We have been demanding resettlement, to no avail.”

Another victim Rizwan Ahmed said funds were being spent unnecessarily in the name of embankment construction. “A lot of money has been spent in the name of flood control, but it has not protected people from floods. Funds should instead be spent to resettle people.”

Social worker Ramferan Gupta said authorities concerned have not bothered to execute any long-term project to check flooding. He called the government to address the problem once and for all. Acting chief district officer of Banke Krishna Acharya said the flood and erosion in Rapti wreak havoc every year.

He admitted that the state had not bothered to address the problem. “Last year, almost Rs 10 million was spent in the name of flood control. Floods swept away everything. This year, it’s no different,” acting CDO Acharya said, adding, “A long-term plan is needed to solve the problem.”

Meanwhile, the Laxmanpur Kalkalawa dam inundation and Rapti erosion combat committee handed over a five-point memorandum to the Chief District Officer, demanding that people at the risk of flooding be resettled in Hajarat community forest and Jhora community forest.