Bihar invites tenders to seal breaches in Kosi river

October 11th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Oct 11 (IANS) After a hue and cry over the delay of work in sealing the breaches in the Kosi river, the Bihar government Saturday invited tenders for the work.The move comes a day after Rs.1.97 billion were approved for sealing the breaches in the flooded river, which claimed 50 lives and affected over three million people in Bihar last month.

Radhakrishna Choudhary, joint cabinet secretary, said the government would allot a tender on an urgent basis within a week to start the work, which would be completed by March 31 next year.

Choudhary said the work of sealing the breaches includes diversion of the main channel of the Kosi river, which is flowing through the breaches currently. The diversion channel will take the river back to its old course.

Recent flooding in the state was caused due to a breach in the Kosi embankment in Kusaha in Nepal that changed the course of the river.

More than three million people in over 1,000 village in Saharsa, Madhepura, Supaul, Araria and Purnea districts were rendered homeless and over one million cattle affected by the floods.

About 989,000 people were evacuated to safer places and over 350,000 people have taken shelter in over 300 relief camps in flood-affected areas, according to officials.

Experts had warned the delay could lead to further flooding in the state during the next monsoon.

An official associated with Kosi Breach Closure Advisory Team (KBCAT) had warned the state government that if the work to seal the breach in the Kosi was delayed millions of people will face devastating floods next monsoon.

Officials admitted that earlier delay in the work to plug the breach was reportedly caused due to differences between the state and central governments.

In September, the state government wrote to the central government for a decision on plugging the breach at the earliest and completion of the work before March 2009.

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