Floods inundate settlements in Kanchanpur and Banke districtsLack of proper drainage and encroachment of public land cause inundation in Kanchanpur every monsoon.
Around 300 houses have been inundated in Salghari and Bagbani areas of Bhimdutta Municipality in Kanchanpur due to incessant rains for the past two days. Several places in Mahendranagar, the district headquarters of Kanchanpur, have also been waterlogged due to poor drainage system.
“As many as 60 families in Ward No. 18 of Bhimdutta Municipality have been displaced after the rainwaters entered their homes,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Amar Bahadur Thapa.
According to him, water levels in these settlements started receding from Wednesday afternoon.
“Almost all the houses in the Salghari area have been flooded. We are planning to keep the displaced families in the under-construction building of Sudurpaschim University in Mahendranagar,” said Rajendra Pandey, ward chairman of Bhimdutta-18.
Freed Kamaiyas (former bonded labourers) and landless squatters make a majority of the population in Salghari area.
Mahendranagar Bazaar area has also been waterlogged in the last couple of days; every rainy season proves difficult for the locals living in the area. A lack of a proper drainage system and encroachment of public land causes inundation in the district headquarters and its surrounding area every monsoon. “Poor management of the drainage system is the main cause of inundation in Mahendrangar,” said Thapa.
Similarly, around 100 houses have been inundated in Chandani area of Mahakali Municipality. “The displaced people started returning home from Wednesday evening,” said Ramsing Bhandari, Inspector at the Armed Police Force border outpost in Dodhara. He warned of possible disaster if the rain continues.
According to him, around half a dozen houses were waterlogged on the roadside of Postal highway in Daiji of Bedkot Municipality on Wednesday. The locals claimed the authorities concerned failed to manage water outlet systems while constructing the highway. “The old water outlet system was blocked while constructing the road; they never built another one. We had requested the ward chairman and the contractor of the road project but they did not listen,” Jogaraj Rana, a local.
Similarly, in province 5 in Banke, the residents of Rapti Sonari Rural Municipality is at high risk of inundation due to the rain swollen rivers and streams.
Every monsoon, Godarpur, Mathebas, Khoriya, Kachanapur, Maduee, Maduwa, Amrawa, Tikalipur, Shamsherganj and Rajpur villages in Rapti Sonari get waterlogged due to the floodwaters. Streams such as Mugu and Khaire cutting through Banke National Park, are also fed with rainwater flooding the nearby settlements, said Khum Bahadur Basnet, the ward chairman in Ward No. 8 of Rapti Sonari, said.
On Monday, a team of officials from the District Administration Office, Sikta Irrigation Project and Banke National Park had inspected the area. Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief at Sikta Irrigation Project, said the canal in Rapti Sonari is bound to break its embankments due to the increased water flow in the streams. “Floodwaters from the streams enter the canal during monsoon and pose a risk of inundation in the settlements around,” said Thapa.
In the last few days, the flow of water in the streams is increasing by 50 centimetres per day, said Ward Chair Basnet. “Sikta irrigation canal may overflow if the water level in the streams does not drop. The settlements are at risk of inundation,” he said.
Ram Bahadur Kurumbang, Chief District Officer in Banke, said they have been discussing with the park officials about options to channelise the streams. “We have started the paperwork to chart out a plan to control floodwaters this year. We will be working in coordination with the park and the irrigation project,” said Kurumbang.
Pramod Bhattarai, chief conservation officer at the park, said, “The core area of the park should be left untouched. There are ways to channelise the streams but we need to do an environmental impact assessment first and submit the report to the District Administration Office before initiating any work inside the park.”
On Tuesday, as the preparedness for flood control, a meeting of the District Disaster Management Committee in Banke also decided to channelise streams in Banke. “We decided to channelise the streams to limit the harm from floods and inundation. The floodwaters in Khaire, Sukhad Muguwa had also destroyed some sections of the East-West Highway and some national pride projects in the past. This year, we are prepared to mitigate the risks,” said Kurumbang.
Meanwhile, the construction work of a helipad has gained momentum in Ward No. 6 of Rapti Sonari Rural Municipality. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law of Province-5 has been constructing the helipad for rescue works. “The helipad will benefit the residents of Rapti Sonari, Ward No. 6 of Narainapur and Ward No. 1 of Daduwa. The construction of the helipad will be completed within a few days,” said Kurumbang.
Madhu Shahi and Rupa Gahatraj in Banke contributed reporting.