Khado river starts eroding embankment leaving settlements at risk of floodingHundreds of people from various settlements in Saptari are affected by floods in the river every monsoon.
The Khado river in Saptari district has started eroding its eastern embankment at Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality-1. The river breaches its embankments every monsoon, exposing several settlements to floods and inundation.
According to Rajesh Jha, the disaster management officer of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality, the flooded river is eroding the eastern embankment between Belhi and Sakarpura settlements in Tilathi Koiladi-1. “The river has already eroded around a metre of the embankment,” he said.
The embankment that lies in ward 1 of the rural municipality is five metres wide and 50 metres long.
The local residents are living in terror of the river breaching its embankment in case of heavy rainfall in the catchment area. According to Arun Kumar Mandal, chairman of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality, the contractor working on the embankment’s fortification a few months ago did a shoddy job.
“The contractor dug up pits to pile up boulders while constructing the embankment a few months ago. They did not fill up the pits with boulders which have left the embankment weak and exposed to breaching,” he said.
Likewise, the river is also eroding the western embankment near Tilathi. Arun Kumar Mandal, the chairman of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality, informed that the Kando river has started eroding its embankment in the Tilathi area as well, leaving several settlements at risk of flooding.
Mandal said that the local unit has urged the Rajbiraj-based Khado River Management Project—a government agency responsible for controlling floods and carrying out flood emergency preparedness—to immediately repair the embankment but the project office has not taken the issue seriously. “The rural municipality and the ward office have initiated the repair work but our efforts are not enough to completely repair the embankment,” said Mandal.
Hundreds of people from various settlements in Saptari are affected by floods in the Khado river every year during the monsoon season. But the authorities concerned do not take concrete initiatives to control such disasters in the Khado river and other water bodies in the district to protect lives and properties.
According to the locals, Tilathi and Sakarpura settlements of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality and Malhaniya of Kankalini Municipality will be inundated if the Kando river breaches the embankment where it has started eroding this season.
The government had established the Khado River Management Project in the fiscal year 2015-16 to manage the river and protect lives and properties. However, the project has failed to take concrete initiatives to control the river, citing a lack of budget.
Ekaraj Bhattarai, chief at the project office in Saptari, admitted that the recent erosion has left the embankment at risk. “But the project office is unable to immediately repair the eroded embankment due to a lack of budget,” said Bhattarai. He said the federal government has not issued a budget under emergency river control in the past two fiscal years.
Hundreds of people, if not thousands, are affected by floods in several rivers and streams in Saptari district every year. The floods in the Khado, Koshi, Triyuga, Mahuli, Sundari, Balan, Kajara, Mutani, Ghodadah and Jita, among other rivers and streams, enter the settlements and damage crops planted in hundreds of hectares of land.
Not only Saptari but all eight districts of Madhes Province are at risk of floods and inundation. However, the preparedness to control water-induced disasters and protect lives and properties is lacking.