People living in constant fear of floods for years

Due to rapid erosion, pillars on the Nepal-India border are also falling into the river 


Every year when monsoon starts people residing downstream of Karnali River in Kailali have to spend sleepless nights due to fear of floods.

This year too, locals of Srilanka, Tikapur, have been spending sleepless nights since Monday night after it started raining heavily.

Due to incessant rainfall, the Karnali River has swelled causing rampant soil erosion in the locality.

Local Jhapat Budha said that with the incessant rain, the river had changed its course and soil erosion that had begun in March-April had intensified now. ‘’We stay awake all night for fear of the floodwater gushing into our settlement,’’ he added. The rain since Monday night has increased the water level in the river.

Local teacher Padam Budha said, ‘’When it starts raining, we move to higher areas to avert possible consequences.

We live in constant fear of an unfortunate incident during the monsoon.’’ He went on to say that once the rain started, their entire attention got diverted to the water level in the river. According to him, water level in the river goes up when there is rainfall in the hilly region.

Now, the river has already eroded a large area of arable land. People of Srilanka — Khadak Saud, Kalu Saud, Gopal Saud, Balbire Tamata, Dangla Chaudhary and Deependra Bhandari — have already lost hundreds of bigha land to the disaster.

The river erodes over 20 bigha of land every year here.

Ward No 1 in the then Dhansinghpur VDC had suffered massive erosion, shared Kalu Saud. The river is converting arable land into desert.

Around 1,000 bigha land was swept away by the river in the last three years, he said. ‘’

Soil here is suitable for almost all sorts of crops. But now people are reluctant to invest in agriculture. In the past, there were 500 houses. Most of them have been displaced and now it is home to around 80 families.

But we live in constant fear of being displaced at any time.”

Srilanka, on the border of Kailali and Bardiya is mostly affected by the flood. Land erosion has also rapidly increased in the area with the construction of an embankment on the Bardiya side.

After the river continued eroding land, the locals constructed embankment employing bio-engineering method with their own efforts.

They said that after the river posed threat to the entire village, they had no option but to create biological embankment.

The irrigation project has been constructing embankment along the Karnali River for five years. But it has not been completed yet. Ward Chairman Thakulla said the recklessness of contractors had caused imminent risk of floods and inundation.

Due to constant erosion, pillars on the Nepal-India border are falling into the river every year. The river had begun eroding the no man’s land between Nepal and India since mid-April. This year, the subsidiary pillar of the major pillar number 701/1 has fallen into the river.

Even the Mohana River has eroded the river banks and swept away the pillars in Tikapur Municipality area.

Four major and 10 subsidiary pillars have been swept away in Tikapur Municipality, said Chandra Dev Bhatta, Armed Police Force In-charge at the border, adding, “This year, border pillars were repaired with joint efforts of Nepali and Indian security personnel.

However, nothing has been done about the pillars that were swept away by the river.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 9, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.