Greater disaster averted, says Kosi battler

September 3rd, 2008 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 3 (IANS) After a deluge that unleashed havoc in Nepal and India, the battle against the raging Saptakoshi river has finally begun to turn in favour of the two plagued neighbours with engineers able to prevent the destruction of the most vulnerable part of the endangered barrage.”The situation is under control,” Bihar water resources executive engineer Jainendra Nath Singh told IANS Wednesday.

Singh was standing on the Rajabas spur 26.88 km away from the barrage.

Since the Saptakoshi began attacking its barrage from Aug 18, also the day Nepal’s new Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” took oath of office, two spurs collapsed in the turbulence, causing the river to change its course eastwards and breach the barrage.

With incessant rain lashing southern Nepal, a third spur was in danger, triggering fears that new areas would be submerged in Sunsari district, where the barrage is located, and in India’s Bihar state across the border.

“This is the most vulnerable spur,” Singh said. “The waters ate up 10m of the spur before our eyes. But since last night, we have been able to stop the erosion.”

About 400 workers, supervised by a team of about 14 engineers from Bihar’s water resources department, have been able to prevent further erosion by fortifying the fraying spur with an elaborate barricade of sand bags held together in nylon nets, which is supported by wire mesh crates filled with boulders.

The barricade is topped by tree branches and bamboo strips.

Singh also said Bihar has drawn up a master plan to woo back the river to its old course. It would be soon discussed by a high-level India-Nepal committee.

Nepal’s new commerce and supplies minister Rajendra Mahato met Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood Tuesday, urging for improved fuel supply.

Mahato said the Indian Oil Corporation, the sole oil provider to Nepal, should not slash fuel supplies even if payments are slow till the crisis is over to help the new government tide over the difficulty.

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