Inundation a perennial issue in DhangadhiEncroachment of riverside areas and absence of canals obstruct the flow of water, causing inundation, officials say.
A clash ensued between the residents of Ward 2 in Dhangadhi Sub Metropolitan City and police personnel on Tuesday over the opening of a culvert.
A team of security personnel from the District Police Office and Armed Police Force in Kailali was mobilised to open a culvert along the Mohanapul-Attariya road after Haat Bazaar and the substation of the electricity office in Dhangadhi got waterlogged.
However, the residents of Ward 2 of the metropolis obstructed the team from opening the culvert and channelising floodwaters into their settlement. A clash soon followed between the local people and the security personnel, where the latter lobbed tear gas canisters and fired warning shots.
“Police personnel lobbed 57 rounds of teargas canisters and opened fire in the air after the local people hurled stones at the security personnel. Thirteen security personnel and some locals were injured in the clash,” said Superintendent of Police in Kailali Bishwa Adhikari.
According to Bal Bahadur Air, chairman of Ward 3 in Dhangadhi Sub Metropolis, the natural flow of water was obstructed so his office sought the police’s help to open the culvert and channelise floodwaters.
“The residents of Ward No. 2 had closed the culvert of Mitranagar along the Dhangadhi-Trinagar Bhansar road, obstructing the natural flow of water,” Air said.
In their defence, Nara Bahadur Bam, chairman of Ward 2 of Dhangadhi Sub Metropolis, said that frequent inundation of the bazaar area caused by floodwaters from Ward 3 prompted them to close the culvert.
“We decided to close the culvert after the floodwaters from Ward 3 inundated our settlements,” he said.
According to him, flooding and inundation have become a yearly issue in the area in the absence of a canal from Ward No 3 to Mohana River.
In the last few years, Dhangadhi bazaar, the capital of Sudurpaschim Province, has been experiencing inundation even after light rainfall.
The local people say the encroachment of streams and a lack of a proper drainage system have led to waterlogging in wards 2, 3, 4 and 13.
“Overflowing drains are a common sight in the bazaar area every monsoon,” said Hari Paudel, a resident of Dhangadhi bazaar.
Siddaraj Bhatta, also a resident of Dhangadhi bazaar, said, “The streams and rivulets in Dhangadhi have been encroached upon so there’s no natural outlet for flood waters to flow into the Mohana River.”
According to him, the sub metropolitan office has neither laid out a proper drainage system nor has it invested in proper planning and zoning of the sub metropolis.
Santosh Mudbhari, the spokesperson of Dhangadhi Sub Metropolis, said that the current administration has not been able to do much about the encroachment of streams and riverside areas since their predecessors had distributed land ownership certificates to settlers without conducting a feasibility study.
“It is not easy to remove the settlers from the riverside areas, as they have land ownership certificates,” Mudbhari said.
According to him, Dhangadhi Sub Metropolitan City Office has prepared a master plan to solve the problem of inundation.
“We plan to construct wider roads with roadside canals under the Regional Urban Development Programme. This will hopefully rid Dhangadhi of yearly inundation and flooding,” Mudbhari said.
The sub metropolitan office will upgrade all roads and pathways of Dhangadhi by 2023, he said.