Construction of railway track worries Chandrapur residentsLocal residents fear possible inundation during monsoons after the construction of a high dam-like structure for the railway track.
The 945-km East-West Electric Railway, also called the Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway, passes from Bagmati to Laxminiya via Chandrapur in Rautahat district. However, local residents are worried that the construction of the railway track in Chandrapur might raise the risk of inundation in the area.
Krishna Chaudhary, 49, a resident of Ward No. 8 in Chandrapur has his house on the northern side of the railway track. He says a dam-like structure is currently being constructed near his land, paving way for the installation of the railway track.
“A platform around fifteen-feet high and culverts are being constructed for the railway track. We are worried about possible inundation during monsoon,” said Chaudhary. “The culverts are small and cannot hold floodwaters during monsoon.”
Khadka Kushawar, chairman of Chandrapur Ward No. 6, said the newly built structure is expected to hold flood waters collected from the Chure hills.
“The culverts are too small and limited in number so they might not be able to hold or direct floodwaters during the monsoon season. Authorities should think about a possible inundation threat to the settlements in the area,” Kushawar said.
Subash Koirala, a local Nepali Congress leader in Santapur, whose house is also close to the railway track, said the local residents had visited the construction site a few days ago and inquired about water outlets from the dam. The construction company, however, did not have an answer to their query, said Koirala.
Hectares of paddy fields in Betauna were inundated in the last monsoon, as the raised platforms constructed for laying the railway track blocked the flow of rainwaters. According to local residents, several settlements of wards 5, 6 and 8 of Chandrapur Municipality will be inundated due to the railway project.
Devendra Sah, the divisional engineer at the Department of Railways, however, claimed that there is no threat of inundation, as enough culverts are being constructed to divert rainwaters. The Department has awarded the contract to construct the 17.8km long railway track from Bagmati to Laxminiya in Rautahat district in four phases. As per the agreement, the construction company should complete works in all four phases by February 2022.