Embankment work halted due to shortage of stonesSeveral settlements along the Karnali river are at risk of inundation in the absence of an embankment.
The construction of embankments along the Karnali river near high-risk areas has come to a halt owing to the shortage of raw materials.
Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project is responsible for building embankments along the Karnali river to prevent soil erosion and mitigate the risk of floods and landslides. However, the project office has been unable to collect stones from Lamkichuha Municipality and Mohanyal Rural Municipality since mid-June, and this has led to the halt of the embankment project.
According to the project office, the Karnali river has been continuously eroding its riverbanks in Bhurak Khani, Shiva Shakti forest, Sankatti, Daulatpur, Sahipur Village, Satti Karnali Community Forest and Arunaphant.
“The rain-swollen river can enter the villages any time now if we fail to build an embankment immediately,” said Bidur Shrestha, senior divisional engineer at the project.
According to officials at the Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project, around 40,000 cubic metres of large stones are needed for the construction of embankments every year.
“We need at least 9,000 cubic metres of stones to build embankments during the monsoon season only,” said Shrestha.
However, none of the authorities are making efforts to stop the ongoing erosion.
“It’s not only the responsibility of the Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project to control erosion. Other stakeholders should also take initiatives to manage essential construction materials to build embankments,” said Shrestha.
On July 18, the District Administration Office in Kailali had written a letter to the respective local units to make available stones for building embankments.
“But Lamkichuha Municipality and Mohanyal Rural Municipality did not pay heed to our request,” said Shrestha.
Meanwhile, Acting Chairperson of Mohanyal Rural Municipality Puja Budhamagar says that his office is soon going to hold a meeting to decide whether to provide stones for building embankments or not.
According to the project office, the construction of an embankment is underway along a 40-kilometre stretch.
The Karnali, a major river system of the country, erodes its embankments every year, putting several settlements and cultivable land at risk of floods and inundation. To address the problem, Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project is constructing embankments along the river from Chisapani to the Nepal-India border.
The project’s initiative to construct an embankment has helped mitigate the risk of floods in the area, local residents say.
“We are hopeful that the embankment constructed by the irrigation project will protect our settlements and fields,” said Bhim BK, a resident of Tikapur Municipality-7 in Kailali district.
Several families in the eastern region of Kailali district have been displaced by floods and inundation. In the past, families living near the Karnali and Mohana rivers used to leave their settlements and move to safer locations every monsoon. But with the construction of embankments by the irrigation project, the families are hopeful that they won’t have to relocate.
“The floods used to displace many families in the past. We hope the embankment project will avert such disasters from now onwards,” said Lalbir Chaudhary, the chairman of Jamara Irrigation Canal Consumers' Committee.