The Kamla River and People On Collision Course

1. The Kamla River

The Kamla is a famous river in the Mithila region of Bihar. The harrowing tales of destruction that are associated with the most unsettled river of Bihar, the Kosi, are not linked to the Kamla. The waters of the Kosi is said to carry far less nutrients as far as agriculture is concerned but the Kamla enjoys a far better reputation among farmers for the nutrients that are present in its waters. It is said that the land that forms part of the Kamla basin is so productive that it is equated to producing gold. A kattha (slightly more than 3 decimals) of land here easily yields 80 kilograms of paddy and the only precondition is that the Kamla should be helpful. However, despite being such a life saving river, the Kamla does not find much of a mention in the scriptures. Even in Ramayana or the Mahabharata, there is no reference of the river that could establish the importance of the Kamla. A similar lack of mention becomes obvious within the Jain and the Buddhist literature too. However, the Kamla is very popular when it comes to the folk tales and legends and its good reputation overtakes that of the Kosi River. The local folklore regards the Kamla as a virgin Brahmin deity.

Map Showing Location of North Bihar and its rivers not to scaleIt is said that long ago the Kamla used to live in the heavens when Brahma, the creator of the world decided to start life on earth. He assigned the roles of the deities and fixed the Brahmin priests who will perform their rituals. Some how, the Kamla was missing when Brahma finalized the list. When she came to know of it, she went to Brahma and complained about the omission. By that time there was no Brahmin left who could be given charge of performing the Puja of the Kamla. Brahma then told the Kamla that she is the deity of water and will be worshipped by the fishermen. A son will be born to the King Vishwambhar Sardar and his wife. Rani Gajawanti and this child would initiate the worshipping of the Kamla. As the legend goes. Vishwambhar Sardar was a resident of the village Bharora near Singhwara, northwest of Darbhanga, in Bihar. When Brahma told the Kamla about who her priest would be, the child (who would be the priest) was already in his mother's womb and that aroused the curiosity in the Kamla. The Kamla shadowed the child, named Garbhi Dayal Singh, looked after him, nursed him and protected him like her own child. The story of this child, from his birth to growing into youth, and his marriage forms a legend and sung by the local folk singers who take weeks to narrate the entire episode. This boy was married to a girl named Dhani and born to Dukh Haran Sardar and his wife Bahura from Bakhari, in Begusarai district. Bahura was a witch and she tortured Vishwambhar Dayal and his son Garbhi along with his family but the Kamla protected him like a shadow.

After cutting Bahura to size, Garbhi returned home with his wife. Dhani, and performed the first puja of the Kamla on the banks of Tilyuga. It is since then that the fishermen of the area started worshipping the Kamla. Similar stories are doing the rounds is linked with the Kamla and the ruling deity of the fishermen, Jaisingh.

Another story that is prevalent in the folklore is that the Kamla has a fisherman well-wisher named Koilabir. He has a spade that has a handle of eighty-four maunds with a blade that weighs eighty maunds. Koilabir paves the way for the Kamla with the help of this spade and the Kamla follows him. He is very strong and stout and protects the Kamla from any untoward incident. As the legend goes, once a very rich and powerful person named Ugla, a dealer of hides and bones got envious of the Kamla as she is worshipped by all and sundry and no one cares about him. He thought of teaching the Kamla a lesson and put a bundh across her with a view that when Kamla would rise. he would pull her out, take her to his home, put vermilion powder on her forehead and marry her. The Kamla got scared after listening to the resolve of Ugla and went to Koilabir to tell him the story and seek his help. Koilabir, having listened to the Kamla, went and demolished the bundh and the Kamla remained free.

Ugla, however, was not prepared to swallow the defeat so easily. He put a bundh of bones across the Kamla who went to Koilabir for help, once again. Koilabir returned to the bundh site and found that it was built of bones and he refused to touch or break the bundh, being built of an unholy material. He, however, advised the Kamla to go to Delhi and meet one Maharaja Amar Singh who might set her free from the bondage by breaking the bundh built of bones. He told the Kamla that the Maharaja was a celibate and had a seven-storied palace and a sandal tree was located south of his palace. The Maharaja had a wrestling ground that was 22 kilometers wide and that she would not find any difficulty in locating the place. Kamla went to Delhi and traversed the wrestling ground and climbed the sandal tree. -After sometime, a hefty person arrived at the scene. Smelling some mischief, he shouted, ...I have lost my energy. It seems, some woman has traversed this wrestling ground. If I find her, I will give a punch on her face and bury her eighty feet below the ground. The Kamla descended from the tree thinking that the person could be none other than Maharaja Amar Singh and that he would surely protect her by going to Morang where Ugla had put the bundh across her. She told all her problems to the Maharaja as to how Ugla had intercepted her and was chasing her with vermilion powder in his hand. She asked him for help. Amar Singh assured her all the help and said that he would be consigned to hell if he could not bail her out of the trouble.

The Maharaja had a massive physical frame having a height of 9 yards and his chest measuring 6 yards across. To accomplish his task he was quick, to go to his mother for her blessings. Amar Singh returned to follow the Kamla to the place where the bundh was constructed. He killed Ugla but when he saw the bundh built of bones, he; too: refused to break it but advised the Kamla to go further west and look for Miran Faquir who would free her. The Kamla went to Arabia, in the west, to look for Miran (or Mira or Mir Saheb), a Muslim, and sought his help. Miran came and broke the bundh and freed the Kamla from the clutches of Ugla. The Kamla remained free ever since. The local fishermen worship the Kamla and; along with her, Miran Faquir also gets the devotees offerings.

It is difficult to say what kind of truth lies behind these folk tales but it is certain that the rivers are a part of our society, culture and civilization and it would be a mistake to judge them merely as drainage channels. A temple in the name of the Kamla is being built near Partapur on the eastern bank of the Kamla, close to Jhanjharpur in the Madhubani district. An annual fair revering the Kamla is also held here regularly.

2. Geographical Features of the Kamla

The River originates from the Mahabharat range in the Himalayas, close to Sindhulia Garhi at a height of 1200 meters, in Nepal. Many rivulets, like the Jima Khola, the Chandaha, the Thakua Khola, the Tawa Khola, the Baijnath Khola, and the Kali Khola join the Kamla before it disgorges into the plains near Tetaria, close to Chisapani, in Nepal. The catchment area of the river at Chisapani is only 1409 sq. km. A dam on the river is proposed at this location. The river then flows in the southerly direction and is joined by the Jiwa (Baiti), the Ghurmi, the Lohjara and the Mainawati on its left bank. No river joins the Kamla on its right bank till it crosses into India but a stream, the Bachhraja, branches off from the river. The Bachhraja was, once upon a time, the main channel of the Kamla (Fig. -2).

Various course of the kamlaThe Kamla enters India, about 3.5 kilometers north of Jainagar, in the Madhubani district. In the Indian portion of the Kamla, the rivers like the Dhauri, the Soni, the Balan, the Gobarjai, the Trishula and the Sugarwe join it on its left bank. Of these rivers, the Balan comes from the Himalayas and flows east of Ladania Thana and is joined by another river called the Soni. This river joins the Balan near Pipra Ghat in the Babu Barhi block of Madhubani district and the resulting stream is called the Kamla-Balan. There was a very severe flood, in Bihar, in the year 1954 when the Kamla turned eastwards and joined the course of the Balan near Pipra Ghat. This combined stream joins the Kareh, southeast of Badla Ghat. The flow path of the Balan, which is also called the Jhanjharpur Balan, is the path that the Kamla has adopted these days. The river passes through the villages of Bhatgawan, Bithauni, Chapahi. Gangdwar, Imadpatti, Kandarpi Ghat, Gandharayan. Bhabhan, Banaur, Harna, Mahrail, Ojhaul, Bahl, Mehath and Mahinathpur before it reaches Jhanjharpur ;.kihere it crosses the Darbhanga-Nirmali rail line. South of this railway line, the Kamla-Balan passes through the villages of Balbhadrapur, BeIhi, Khairi, Phatki, Prasad, Bhit Bhagwanpur, Bauram, Jhamta and Jamalpur before it joins the Kareh near Phuhia. The Balan used to join the Tilyuga near Rasiyari, in earlier days. But the changing courses of almost all the rivers along with the embankments built on the rivers to prevent this shift, have changed the entire drainage mechanism of the area. Many rivers have ceased to exist while many others have their profiles grossly changed. The Tilyuga and the Bainti rivers are now lost within the Kosi embankments.

The Kamla also brings a huge amount of detritus along with its flow although it is not as much as it is in the Kosi. The Kamla also changes its course from time to time. Many of its abandoned channels become active during the rainy season and can be seen on the western side of the present stream of the Kamla-Balan. These abandoned channels are spread from Benipatti to Rampatti in the north to the outskirts of Darbhanga and up to 35 kilometer further down near Jhanjharpur, in the south. The total length of the Kamla-Balan is 328 kilometers of which 208 kilometers lies in Nepal and the remaining 120 kilometers is in India. Chisapani, where the river disgorges into the plains, is located 48 kilometers north of Jainagar.

The total catchment area of the Kamla-Balan is 7232 of which 4488 is located in Bihar and the remaining portion is in Nepal. Within India, 63 percent of the catchment area lies in Madhubani district, 31 percent in Darbhanga district, 3 percent each in Saharsa and Samastipur districts and only one percent in Khagaria district. The river remains in spate in the rainy season and can be forded in the rest of the year. The maximum rainfall in the Indian Territory of the Kamla basin is 1450 mm in the Khutauna block of the basin and the lowest is in Kusheshwar Asthan (1000 mm). It is an amazing fact that despite having the lowest rainfall in its part of the basin, Kusheshwar Asthan remains submerged for a major portion of the year. We shall go into the causes of such submergence later. The Kosi on the east, the Adhwara on the west, and the Himalayas on the north and the Kareh on the south surround the Kamla-Balan basin. The total population of the Kamla-Balan basin (1991 census figures) was 38.72 lakh, and which was likely to have gone up to 44.64 lakh in 2001.

3. Different Courses of the Kamla

The Kamla although, it is not as unstable as the Kosi but it is known to have shifted its course and ever since such records are being kept, four different channels of the river are known to have existed. The Project Report of the Kamla Embanking Scheme (1956) mentions about the different courses of the river and a brief description of these channels of the Kamla.

3.1. The Bachhraja Dhar

At the time of the Rennels survey (1779), the Kamla used to flow very close to the west of Jainagar. It was also flowing west of Madhubani but in Darbhanga, the river was passing three kilometers east of the town and used to join the Kareh near Phuhia via Ghausaghat and Trimuhanighat. The total length of the channel was 240 kilometers. After the Rennel’s survey, the Kamla followed its old course till the village Rathos but it took a turn near Raghauli to join the Darbhanga Bagmati, east of Kamtaul railway station. It then proceeded to join the Kareh, upstream of Hayaghat railway station. The total length of this route of the Kamla, from Nepal hills to its confluence with Kareh, was only 158 kilometers and this stream marked the extreme western boundary of the Kamla.

3.2 The Pat Ghat Kamla

This channel of the Kamla, starting from the east of Jainagar, followed the Jainagar-Sakri rail route up to Rajnagar railway station and then it took a turn towards south to cross the Sakri-Nirmali railway line, west of Lohna Road railway station. The Kamla then joined the Tilyuga near Baltharawa village and this 189 kilometers long route of the river was known as the Pat Ghat Kamla.

3.3 The Sakri Kamla

The Pat Ghat Kamla, too, never remained in its place and, in 1922. it flowed from Jainagar to Rajnagar and crossed the Sakri-Jainagar rail line at Rajnagar itself through the bridge no: 16A. Then the river took a turn to the bridge no: 15 and, ultimately, returned to its old channel after passing through the bridge no: 7. The river crossed the Darbhanga-Nirmali rail line through bridge no: 54, west of Sakri railway station. The Kamla now started flowing parallel to, and east of. the Sakri-Behera-Supaul road and joined the Jiwachh Dhar near Jhamta. Still ahead, this new channel joined the Pat Ghat Kamla channel near Saharawa and proceeded to join the Tilyuga near Baltharwa. The total length of this route in the terai and the plains was 211 kilometers.

3.4 The Jiwachh Kamla

The Kamla changed its route once again, in 1930, near Mohanpur village. This new channel crossed the Sakri-Jainagar rail line through bridge no: 9 and adopted the path of the Chhatahari Dhar. This channel used to flow through Badriban and Kakana villages and flowing further down south and used to join the Jiwachh near Nima. This channel of the Jiwachh crosses the Darbhanga-Nirmali rail line through bridge no: 43 and, joins the Sakri Kamla near Jhamta and the Tilyuga near Baltharwa. The total length of this route is 234 kilometers. During 1939-1940, there was another change in the Chhutahari Dhar-Jiwachh Dhar route and the stream between Badriban and Dhanuki started flowing through Sahura and Akaspur and rewound near Dhanuki to follow its old route. The Kamla followed this channel till 1954 when it suddenly took a turn near Bhakua to join the Balan near Pipra Ghat.

In the lower reaches, the Kamla-Balan bifurcates near the village Gulma. The major channel that flows towards the east is called the Kosi Dhar by the local people and crosses the Mansi-Supaul rail line near Dhamara Ghat railway station and ultimately joins the Kareh. The southern channel of the Kamla-Balan is called the Bahwa Dhar and it joins the Kareh below Phuhia, two kilometers downstream of Tilkeshwar.

4. The Floods of the Kamla

Few years after the British colonization of India, a severe famine struck the country in 1770 and its impact was also felt in Darbhanga. Those days what was known as Darbhanga comprised of the present Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur districts. On the one hand there was the adverse impact of the famine and, on the other, there was the terror of the zamindars. The agriculture in the area reached its lowest ebb because of this combination. At one stage, in 1783, the collector of Darbhanga had to propose that the Vazir of Oudh should be requested to send peasants so that agricultural operations could be resumed in the area. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Pargana Pachhi and Allapur of Darbhanga was a sanctuary of wild animals. The situation changed slowly and according to a report of the collector of Darbhanga (1828), there was more fallow land than the cultivated one. The situation was so bad in the terai area, close to Nepal and the area enclosed between the Dhaus and the Tilyuga, that for every bigha of cultivated land, at least, fifty bighas of land remained fallow. Some improvements were recorded in the early nineteenth century but till then half the land in the district was lying fallow and in the northern portion the uncultivated land was even more. By 1840, cultivation was started on three quarters of the land in the district but, in the northern zones, it remained only half the land was cultivated and, in general, agriculture stagnated for a long time to come. In 1875, the land under agriculture touched a figure of 79 percent and according to the survey settlement report of 1896-1903, agriculture was practiced on 80 percent of the land in Darbhanga. ...We should probably therefore be justified in concluding that cultivation has nearly doubled itself in the last hundred years, but that the greater part of the increase took place in the first half of the last century.

Famine was an improbability in the area of Darbhanga as it was cris-crossed with large number of rivers and streams. The land in Darbhanga was then infested with the jungles of Kans (Thatch Grass-Saccharum), Pater (Spotneum-Typha-Australis) and was waterlogged and marshy. ... The largest uncultivated area is in the headquarters sub-division, where there is considerable amount of swamp and marsh, which is under water for the greater part of the year. It is nearly as great in the Madhubani subdivision where there is much culturable jungle along the banks of the streams and on the Nepal frontier: and it amounts to 23 percent of the total area of the Madhubani than a where it is due to the large number of mango groves which strew the country.

O'Malley (1907) was of the opinion that further expansion of agriculture in the district was not possible and that there were ample evidences to shows that soon the production from the land here would not be able to sustain the pressure of an increasing population. In which case either the standard of living of the people will go down or the productivity of the land will have to be raised. The population of Darbhanga, in 1901, was 29,12,611 which now (2001 census) stands at 1,02,69,537 (inclusive of Madhubani and Samastipur).

Thus, two conditions for the development of Darbhanga were already set in the beginning of the twentieth century itself that, should the population rise further, the standard of living would decline and the land of Darbhanga could not sustain the needs of its population unless productivity is raised. To increase the agricultural production, it was essential that more and more land was brought under cultivation. This was possible but there was a limit to its expansion and it was essential that the drought and floods are brought under control and adequate irrigation is provided for the agriculture production to rise. The flood situation was such that the area was surrounded with rivers from all sides. While the rivers like the Tilyuga, the Balan, the Bhutahi Balan, the Panchi, the Dhokra, the Bihul, the Kharag, the Ghordah, the Sugarwe, the Supain, the Baiti, the Soni, and the Kamla were flowing from north to south; there was a pressure from the Adhwara Group of rivers and the Bagmati from the west and southwest. There was an impact of the Burhi Gandak and the Ganga in the south while the Kosi was knocking at the door from the east in the form of the Dhemura. And to cap it all, most of these rivers were unstable. We have had a glimpse of the changing courses of the Kamla but the other rivers also were no different either. The Kosi, however, was notorious for its vagaries. The silt content of the water in these rivers had its own set of problems. A river, when it descends down the hills, has a tremendous velocity of flow, which reduces drastically as the river reaches the plains. This allows the sediments contained in the flow to spread and settle over a large area. In the following monsoon season, the river cuts across the deposited sediments and carves a new path for itself. That is how the rivers make their delta. Shallow beds of the rivers and flat gradient of the land in plains create situations that if it rains well even for a day, all the rivers would overflow their banks and flood the area and as one moves in the south easterly direction, the spread of water was on the rise because all the rivers were converging in that direction only.

Apart from this many rivers were embanked by the zamindars who had also put ring bundhs around habitations to protect them from floods. These structures used to impede the drainage and were instrumental in making the floods permanent in the form of waterlogging.. ... Owing to this combination of circumstances, the district has always been subject to severe and widespread inundations, which cause a good deal of temporary suffering. But, as a rule, the distress they cause soon passes away; the dwelling which are destroyed are quickly replaced, as the cost of erecting such mud-walls huts is small; and the cultivators are compensated, in large measure, for the losses they sustain by the fertilizing silt left by the receding waters, which increases the productiveness of the soil and ensures rich crops.

Detailed accounts of earlier floods are available in old British documents, gazetteers, settlement and administrative reports and the annual reports of the Irrigation Department. For example, there were three successive floods in 1893, in the months of July, August and September. The first flood of July was absorbed but the following floods came when the ground and the available cushion for the flood was saturated. On one side, the Muzaffarpur-Barauni-Katihar railway line was blocking the passage of the drainage of the Burhi Gandak and the Bagmati, on the other side, the Kamla was maintaining the pressure from the north. This resulted in the passage of one-meter deep water from northwest to southeast through the district causing immense damage to crops, dwellings, roads and the railway lines. Almost half the district became an island and the people were forced to take shelter on the high lands, railway lines and the roads. .... Fortunately, the waters rose gradually; no lives, so far as could be ascertained, were lost; and the people had time to save their stores and to drive off most of their cattle. . .The way in which the people recovered from their losses, instead of being overwhelmed by them, was very remarkable.

Similarly, the floods of 1898 in Darbhanga were caused by the rising levels of the Kamla, the Kareh, the Darbhanga Bagmati and the Burhi Gandak. Many of the thanas, from Beni Patti, in the northwest, to Darbhanga, Laheria Sarai, Dalsing Sarai and Waris Nagar, in the southeast, were hit by this flood. Spills from the Baraila Chaur inundated Dalsing Sarai. Although, there was no loss to cattle, this flood took away some 164 lives with it besides destroying 88,000 houses. On the positive side, there was a bumper Rabi harvest that year because of fresh soil on the fields. If any body needed some employment, it was available in the repairs of the Barauni-Katihar railway line and not a single application was given for loans from the government...Prices did not rise and the Collector reported that, taking the district as a whole, the flood was rather beneficial than otherwise.

Flood came in 1902 also but the flood of 1906 created a history in Darbhanga. The common belief is that a flood is never succeeded by a famine but this years, apart from demolishing many a bridges, roads and rail lines, demolished this belief too. The first wave of flood came in the month of July and it was followed by incessant rains that started 6th August and continued up to the 24th August submerging the greater part of the district for over 16 days. From the Kamla in the north to the Burhi Gandak in the west with a simultaneous rise of the Bagmati and the Darbhanga Bagmati, most of the district was inundated. Almost entire Darbhanga town was under a sheet of water excepting the kachahri, in Laheriasarai, and the Bara Bazar in Darbhanga and many people rendered homeless took shelter on these highlands. Floodwater entered the town so suddenly and the onset of flooding was so fast that the people did not find time to react to the situation and had to move immediately. It took about a week for the water to recede in the town but, in other areas, it took over two months. The damage to the crops was so extensive that the prices soared high. The year (1905-06) was also not a very good year, generally, as far as agriculture was concerned. The floods and the rising prices broke the backbone of the people. Famine had to be declared in Rosera and Behera and free rations had to be distributed to 45,000 flood victims in the month of October, 19,000 in the month of November and 15,800 in the month of December. If the local officers and the indigo planters had not distributed food, a near starvation situation would have occurred. Test relief works had to be opened despite floods and, at one point of time, some 32,000 persons were engaged in the relief works. This worst ever flood till date in Darbhanga had water spread over 2,714 sq. km in the Sadar subdivision, 1510 sq. km. in Madhubani and 1075 in Samastipur subdivision bringing the total to 5299 sq. kilometers.

Floods were also faced in Darbhanga in 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1919, 1920 to 1922, 1924, 1926 to 1943, 1946, 1953 to 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986 to 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995 to 2000, 2002 and 2004. Of these, the floods of 1954 and 1987 were the most severe floods of the last century. The flood of 1954 is important in the sense that virtually nothing was done to protect people from the floods till then because whatever was done in the independent India to tame the rivers and their floods was subsequent to the adoption of the flood policy of 1954. Prior to that date, all the works on the flood control were done by the farmers and the zamindars and the local people. The engineers believe that these works were undertaken for immediate and local gains and were thoroughly unscientific in nature.

In that context we shall glance through the problems faced by the people in 1954. in the Kamla Basin, in Darbhanga as that formed the basis of all the future flood control works in the district.

Till the beginning of rainy season, in 1954, the Kamla was flowing in the Jiwachh Dhar at the Kumhar Tola village, slightly north of Raiyam. This was the route of the river since 1930. It used to stray a bit here and there during the rainy season but there was no major change in its direction of flow. Despite following a given path, the river spared no opportunity of overflowing its banks and inundating the surrounding area. Because of its excessive sediment load, the Kamla had rendered the beds of the Jiwachh and the Lalbega shallow. The Lalbega was a small stream, which used to Join the Jiwachh, one and half kilometer below Kumhar Tola. The Jiwachh and the Lalbega had very limited waterway and the situation became worse when the water of the Kamla started pouring into them to the detriment of the western portion of the Madhubani town. This entire flow of the rivers used to wander in the lower - areas and, it appeared that, the river was making its delta near Raiyam. Looking at the rivers, it was difficult to identify the streams or to predict which one would emerge as the final route of the river. At times, excessive flow was seen in one channel while immediately thereafter, it used to get dry with sand appearing in its bed. It appeared once that the Kamla will adopt its Ghausa Ghat course but in the month of October, it took a sudden turn near Bhakua and joined the Balan, abandoning the Ghausa Ghat channel filling it with sand.

The floods came twice this year in the month of July and once in the month of August. It ruined the Kamla Canal System and the embankments being built near Jainagar on the Kamla, in the first instance, and the west flowing waters of the river did not spare even the Jainagar-Janakpur railway line. The river also appeared to have carved a new course for itself, on the left bank, near the village Bairaha and a similar incident took place near Khairamath, where the river was eroding the banks very badly. Most of the houses in this village were washed away. The south flowing waters of the Kamla devastated the villages of Tehra, Seira and Hanuman Nagar and damaged Belahi, to a great extent. All this water got into the Dhauri near Chatra. Simultaneous erosion was going on near Bhakua and the water of the river was spreading towards the east. In the second wave of the floods, in the month of August, Balua Tol was washed away and the Kamla was now inching towards the Soni. By October, the river joined the Balan near Pipra Ghat.

The Balan did not have the capacity to hold the waters of the Dhauri, the Soni and the Kamla. The result was that heavy flooding took place all along its course. This water extended from the Pat Ghat Kamla, in the west, to a 3 to 6 kilometers strip along Tamuria, in the east. The entire area between Bhaduar Ghat to the Sakri Nirmali rail line appeared like an ocean. On the other side, the floodwaters of the Kamla had filled the Mangrauni Chaur, west of Madhubani, in the first flood in the month of July itself, with water depths varying from 2 to 2.25 meters, widespread damage of crops and dwellings was observed in Raiyam. Because of the floods and sand casting of the beds of the Jiwachh and the Lalbega: in the month of August, the water of the Mangrauni Chaur found it hard to get drained out and; as a result, got choked with sand of up to 2 meters depth. The Kamla waters overtopped the railway line near Manigachhi and also north of Madhubani. The train services remained suspended for over nine days.

The worst ever flood till date in Darbhanga, was spread over 65 percent of the total area of the district. Crops were lost almost in the same proportion. Out of a total of 3,438 villages of Darbhanga, 2,501 villages were affected by this years flood. A population of 19,76,771, out of the total population of 37,67,798, was affected in Darbhanga by the flood that destroyed 32,950 houses and killed 13 persons besides killing over 500 cattle.

In 1955, almost a similar story was repeated in Darbhanga. The waters of the Kamla and the Balan reached up to the Deep village, west of Tamuria while on the right bank, its spread extended up to the Pat Ghat Kamla. The railway line between Jainagar and Khajouli was overtopped this year also and the train services had to be suspended for some days. The water also overtopped near Tamuria railway station and the train services had to be suspended north of Ghoghardiha. The floods had affected 2341 villages, 25.02 lakh people, and 4.16 lakh hectares of land in Darbhanga besides killing 17 persons. More people suffered from floods this year than in the last year.

5. Irrigation Problem in the Kamla Basin

A major portion of the Kamla in the Indian territory now lies in the Madhubani district that earlier used to be a subdivision of what was earlier Darbhanga.
Posted by
Get the latest news on water, straight to your inbox
Subscribe Now
Continue reading