Koshi repair work over: H Pala

NEW DELHI: India’s Minister of State for Water Resources, Vincet H Pala, addressing the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) on Thursday, said the coffer dams constructed to facilitate the Koshi breach closure work in Nepal had served their purpose.

In a written reply to a lawmaker’s query, the state minister informed

the House that all the repair work on Saptakoshi River had been completed. He said a number of state level steps were being taken to prevent and mitigate the problems caused by rivers flowing from Nepal.

Pala added that the Indian government was in constant talks with the Nepalese counterpart in search of long-term solutions to prevent the damage caused by recurrent floods

in the rivers flowing south from Nepal. He said schemes to build reservoirs in Nepal for several rivers such as Mahakali (Sarada), Karnali (Ghaghra), Kamla, Bagmati and Koshi, were underway.

“The State Government of Bihar completed the construction work on the breached section of the eastern afflux bund of the Koshi Barrage at Kusaha, Nepal, on 31st May, 2009, which had been washed away on the 18th of August, 2008.

In addition, the flood protection works to strengthen the eastern afflux bund recommended by the Koshi High Level Committee was also completed by the Government of Bihar,” the State Minister said.

“The Government of India had approved a scheme submitted by the State Government of Bihar of INRs 143.42 crores, releasing an amount of INRs 69.90 crores for Koshi works in 2008-09,” said the State Minister.

“The remaining amount will be released on receipt of final bills,” he assured.

He further said that flood management schemes were planned, funded and executed by the State Government, as water issues were under

the state’s jurisdiction. “The role

of the central government is more technical, catalytic and promotional in nature,” he said.

“However, to provide central assistance to the flood prone states, a state sector scheme of ‘Flood Management Programme’ amounting to INRs 8,000 crores, was approved in principle by the cabinet on November 2, 2007, for the XI Plan,” he added.