For safe banks
It is eleven months since the Koshi river fury displaced thousands of people who are yet to
be settled back in their original sites. The long stay at relief camps have been marked with undue hardships to the Koshi victims who have resorted to various disruptive tactics in the past to draw the attention of the government. The issue had caught the eyes of the then Maoist-led government and despite all the commitments speedy relief works could not make the headway that the task demanded. The lingering problem has not yet been resolved though the first installment of the relief fund has already been disbursed. It includes the
specified amount per family and the compensation for the destroyed homestead, cattle and foodgrain loss, etc. The second allocated relief package is in
the pipelines and will be distribute to the identified affected people, a total of over 7000 such affected families come into the picture.
The delay in the distribution of timely relief to the victims is incomprehensible. This is all the more so when not only Koshi river but the
other major rivers of the country unleash fury during the monsoon season. The level of preparedness is always the Achilles heels when matters come in the context of the country. The factor that should be the guiding principle ought to be long term strategy to deal with natural
disasters, complemented by short term immediate response plans. But, unfortunately, though ranked among the top countries vulnerable to natural disasters like floods, landslides, earthquakes and the like, the measures in hand are but scanty. It is not that the resources are lacking when it comes to preparedness, but the political will comes to nought in real terms. The ever-changing central leadership has its rippling effects at the local level, and this is what the agony of the Koshi victims tell almost a year after the havoc that the river created. The monsoon season has begun, and fortunately, it has not been as intense as last year but the level of being able to deal with the unexpected seems to be missing.
In all this the construction of the embankments also took longer time than expected to protect the adjoining areas. Now, things are slowly moving back into the previous state albeit a bit late. The Indian assistance in this regard must be appreciated that India also stands to benefit with the flood control measures in Nepal. Hence, both sides have to work for measures to tame the rivers for mutual benefit. It behoves on both the countries to go for schemes that give benefit to both in the long run.
Last year’s Koshi river floods brought about destruction both in Nepal and India. Working for mutual benefit dictates the measures to control Koshi fury from spilling over. The future action plan must take into consideration the damages rivers like Koshi can cause in terms of inundation leading to the loss of
life and property in both the countries. If this is taken into consideration then the potential of Koshi will be to the gain of both the nations.
Keep schools open
The frequent closures of schools have created immense concern amongst the students, guardians and educationists. As a result, the students are losing their valuable time, and it is difficult for the schools to keep up with academic calendar. Apart from bandhs that close the schools, these days protests by teachers for some reason or the other have shut down the schools for numerous days. All concerned should realize that this is violating the right of children to have access to education. The protesters who close the schools should opt for forms of protests that does not shut down schools, to have their demands met. They should keep the interest of their students first and foremost.
Meanwhile, the authorities concerned should encourage the protesting teachers to sit down
for talks and be ready to meet their genuine demands. The teachers, for their part, should act sensibly and not put up unreasonable demands. It is high time that schools were declared zones of peace and the civil society and guardians worked towards this end. Seeing the way the schools are being closed this should receive due consideration and should be taken up seriously for the future of the students are at stake.