Embankment delay puts Bardiya settlements at flood risksRepeated requests of locals in Bardiya district to speed up construction of embankments on Babai River to mitigate flood related damages have continued to fall on deaf ears.
Repeated requests of locals in Bardiya district to speed up construction of embankments on Babai River to mitigate flood related damages have continued to fall on deaf ears.
Locals of three VDCs—Baniyabhar, Padnaha and Mohammadpur—and Gularyia Municipality are at high risk of floods and erosion in monsoon, according to District Water Induced Disaster Prevention (DWIDP). One and half years ago, floods in Babai River killed at least 32 people and destroyed properties worth millions of rupees in the district. The construction of embankment has been stopped as the budget was delayed in last fiscal year.
Technicians at the DWIDP have warned that the Bhada section of Gulariya road, Mohammadpur, Kusumbhaghat, Panditpur, Prayagpur, Thapuwa, Latkaniya, Bagahi, Guruwagaun, Rampur Tappu, among other areas in the district, are facing flood and erosion risks.
“If the preventive measures are not taken on time, floods will wreak havoc in the settlements in coming years,” said Lakhan Tharu of Gulariya-6. “The government should allocate sufficient budget immediately in constructing embankments in areas at higher risk.”
Secretary of the Construction Association Bharat Paudel said the construction works was left incomplete as the government delayed releasing budget. “We cannot start the embankment construction in the risky zones until the government allocates budget on time,” said Paudel.
Babai River has already eroded around 500 bighas of farmland in the district over the past three decades. Chief of the DWIDP Rakesh Kalawar has conceded that the construction of embankments had been incomplete because of delay in allocation of sufficient budget. “It is necessary to make a master plan to control river permanently in the areas between Parewa Odar and Nepal-India border,” said Kalwar, adding that they had been coordinating with the centre on the matter.