Srilanka tapu at Saptakoshi’s mercy

Sunsari, September 20:

Inhabitants of Srilanka tapu (island) fear that the Saptakoshi river might wash it away anytime.

The island, located in Prakashpur VDC-5, is home to around 6,000 people. Authorities concerned have not initiated measures to control erosion and move the inhabitants to safer places. With the river eroding it fast, 27 families have left the island in search of safer places.

The river has eroded 30 bigha of farm land there. We also might leave the place pretty soon, the panicked inhabitants said.

They pleaded to authorities to take measures to tame the river and save the island. “People are panicked as the river continues to pose a threat to the island,” said Arun Chandrabanshi of the island.

“The river has swept away 17 kattha of my land and destroyed crops,” he said. Chandrabanshi said his family members had been putting up in a neighbour’s house.

The river also eroded land belonging to Lakhan Chandrabanshi, Pramila Chandrabanshi and Dukhidas Tatma, he said. According to him, 27 families have moved out of the island after the river inundated their land and houses.

Another victim said the river had added to their woes. “The river has swept away land and houses. Survival is our overriding concern for now,” said Pramila Chandrabanshi.

A local journalist, Baburam Karki, said he feared another disaster. “This problem calls for new measures. Efforts should be made at the earliest to save this island,” said Baburam Karki. People of Srilanka have asked the Prakashpur VDC office, police officials and representatives of political parties to take measures to save the island.

However, Sunsari CDO Durga Prasad Bhandari said he was unaware of the problem.

“Right now, rehabilitation of Saptakoshi flood victims is our sole priority,” he said, adding that the administration will hold discussions with the people of Srilanka soon to resolve their woes.