Nepal blames India for fresh flooding

September 25th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 25 (IANS) Close on the heels of anger over India’s failure to maintain the Kosi embankment that resulted in a devastating flood last month in southern Nepal and India’s Bihar state, the Himalayan republic is now blaming India for a fresh deluge in the western region that has killed over 30 and rendered thousands homeless.Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam, who is also the home minister, returned from an aerial inspection of the remote districts of Kailali Thursday and told the media that the havoc was caused by the Indian authorities’ refusal to open the gates of the Kailashpuri barrage.

The Kailashpuri barrage on the Ghagara river stands near Nepal’s border with India’s Uttar Pradesh district.

Gautam said the Nepal government had asked Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood to urge the Indian authorities to open the barrage gates.

However, there had been no immediate action from the Indian authorities. The minister said diplomatic parleys have to be initiated for a long-term solution of the problem.

In the past too, the barrage has been blamed for causing inundation on the Nepal side.

The same accusation was also levelled by the Maoist Minister for Labour Lekhraj Bhatt, who too had gone on an inspection of the flood-hit districts.

Though Nepal’s government announced the allocation of Nepali Rs.500 million ($8 million) for immediate flood relief measures in the country’s farwest, aid agencies were floundering to reach out to the thousands of homeless families.

Incessant rain since last Friday inundated eight western districts and also triggered landslides.

Nepal’s home ministry said Bardiya, Banke, Dang, Dadeldhura, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Doti and Salyan districts of the far western and mid western regions were affected with over 30 people killed and over 80,000 people displeased.

The fresh accusations against the Uttar Pradesh government come even as Nepal is blaming the Indian state of Bihar for the disaster caused by the Kosi river last month after two spurs protecting its embankment in Nepal’s Sunsari district collapsed.

According to a treaty signed between India and Nepal in 1954, Bihar was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the barrage on the Kosi river, which mostly irrigates Indian land, as well as its accompanying embankments and spurs.

A joint Committee on Water Resources is scheduled to hold a three-day meeting in Kathmandu from Monday to discuss the flood problems and other issues.

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