Thus come the floods

Submitted by Hindi on Fri, 05/26/2017 - 15:28
Source
Barh Mukti Abhiyan, Patna, June 2003

There was only 160 kilometer length of embankments in Bihar, in 1954, the year of the promulgation of the first flood policy of the country and the flood prone area of the state was 25 lakh hectare and today, in 2002, the embankment length along the Bihar rivers has risen to 3,430 kilometers and the flood prone area has touched a staggering figure of 68.8 lakh hectares, The cost of this debacle is around Rs. 1,327 crores which does not include the cost of the establishment, if that is added, the expenses might as well double.An ambitious programme was taken up to save North Bihar from the recurring floods in the 1950s, by constructing embankments along its rivers. This was, indeed, a daring step because it had, in its' background, a technical and administrative debate against embanking of such heavily silt laden Himalayan rivers for over a century. The British had a very powerful and active administrative and technical lobby which treated the problem of floods as the one of drainage. It successfully opposed any move that caused impedance in the flow path of water and hence it was opposed to the embanking of rivers.

This realization of the British was not only theoretical but was based on experience. The early immigrants among them were essentially the traders and the sailors who had little to do with irrigation or flood control. They were, however, inspired by the Yamuna canal built by Feroze Shah Tughlaq in the 14th Century, which lay in abandoned state and renovated it for irrigation. This fetched good returns and they started learning and developing irrigation engineering. They were awestruck by the floods in the Ganga and the Brahmaputra basin and thought of taming the rivers to prevent their spills and tax the beneficiaries for providing floods control. Once the rivers are prevented from spilling, artificial irrigation would become a necessity and that paves the way for further collection of revenue. They chose the Yamuna, the Ganga and the Indus for the development of irrigation but for flood control their choice fell on the Damodar, the 'Sorrow of Bengal' as they called it, in 1855. It occurred to them that the Damodar can be tamed by constructing embankments. It was around this time that the first freedom struggle of India started in 1857. They had to develop and extend roads and rail lines to push in armed forces to quell any rebellion and while Damodar embankments were being constructed they had to raise and strengthen the G. T. Road together with constructing the Asansol-Howrah rail line. This rail line was completed in 1860 and the very next year, in 1861, malaria spread as pan epidemic in Burdwan of which no medicine was known then. The reason was later found that the railway line had obstructed the free flow of rainwater and stagnating pools were formed all along it resulting in a favourable condition for mosquito breeding. On the other hand, the flood level between the Damodar embankments rose alarmingly and the embankments breached at many places. The 'natives', too, cut them at numerable places. On the whole the situation became too chaotic to handle.

The people living in the Damodar valley had their own ways to deal with the situation which was backed by centuries old traditions and experience. They used to construct very low height bunds along the Damodar. With the Onset of monsoon, rain water used to get collected in, the fields in which they would broadcast paddy seeds. The paddy seedlings used to grow along with the larvae of mosquitoes and with advancing monsoon the flood level in the river to used to rise. By the time of transplantation, the small bunds along the river used to breach either on their own or, else, a large number of cuts used to be affected by the people themselves to allow the river water to rush to their fields. This muddy water of the river used to contain the fertilizing silt along with a large number of fingerings. With the spread of this water over the fields, the demand for the fertilizer was met and the carnivorous fingerlings, which used to live on the 'larvae of the mosquitoes, never allowed mosquitoes to grow. Wherever the river used to spill, and it used to spill at many places and many times, the silt and the fingerlings were pushed to the countryside. Paddy and fishes used to grow simultaneously. To take care of any long dry spell the 'natives' had constructed a large number of ponds all along,, where the fishes could 'take shelter and the irrigation water drawn from in case of need. There was no malaria thus, and a good paddy crop along with fishes was almost a certainty, every year. After the rains were over, the bunts along the river were restored. The farmers used to-restore the small bunds along the river after the rainy season was over. The moisture retained in the soil was good enough to give another harvest of pulses and oil seeds in the Rabi season. This was the reason that Burdwan district of the Damodar basin was one of the most prosperous areas within the country. Because of spreading of flood waters over a vast area, there was some sort of moderation always and the flood levels never rose 'beyond tolerable limits.

The British could not understand these thoroughly scientific and the practical ways if the 'natives' of dealing with the floods and thought that the 'anti-social elements' were responsible for cutting the embankments and they made foolproof arrangements of dealing with the situation by constructing sturdy embankments along the river. These embankments ran in east-west direction and so did the Grand Trunk Road and the Asansol-Howrah rail line. The Eden canal, too, ran in the same direction while the land sloped from south to north. All these structures constituted the 'five satanic chains' in the path of rain water and the breaches in them became the order of the day.

The flood level within the Damodar embankments grew alarmingly and just as the outside water could not enter the river because of the embankments, the so called protected areas were devastated by floods. As a last resort, the British started demolishing the Damodar embankments and by 1869 they had done away with nearly 32 kilometer length of the constructed embankments. Simultaneously, they made arrangements for adequate drainage through the Eden Canal, G. T. Road and the railway line and swore never to embank a river, a promise that they kept till they left the country in 1947.

The Damodar had taught them that if a heavily silt laden river is embanked, then the bed level of the river will continue to rise slowly, the fields will not get their usual quota of fertilizer from the river water, the water flowing freely into the river would get stagnated outside the embankments, the tributaries would be prevented from joining the main river, the sluice gates at such confluences would be difficult to operate during the flood season as the water in main river might backflow into the tributary engulfing fresh areas under floods or, else, it might flow parallel to the embankments in the countryside devastating never areas. The resulting situation would lead to the demands of embanking the tributary and if that is done, rainwater would get locked between the embankments of the main river and that of the tributary. To drain this water out either of the embankments will have to be cut or else, the water will have to be physically lifted into either of the rivers. There will be seepage from the river embankments always, which will have to be raised continuously keeping in tune with the rising bed level 'of the river to which there is a practical limit. To cap it all, nobody can ever guarantee that an embankment would never breach. Higher and sturdier the embankments, greater is the risk to which the people taking shelter behind these illusory protections are exposed to. The losses incurred due to the spreading of flood waters of a free flowing river are always less than the losses due to an embanked river. The British had very carefully heard the stories of other embanked rivers like the Hwang-Ho in China, Mississippi in the U.S.A. and the Po in Italy. Calculative as they were, they soon found out that the benefits accrued over many years of embanking of a river might just get wiped out in one stroke, in one year. All this knowledge and experience existed almost hundred years prior to the embanking of the Kosi. It is the prerogative of the politicians,. who are more vocal and powerful, to pose ignorant of the facts but the British masters respected the opinion of their engineers and rarely overruled them.

The lessons learnt on the Damodar were used later on two occasions. The collector of Purnea rejected a proposal to embank the Kosi, in 1871, saying that thes year in which the monsoon crop is lost due to flooding, there have been evidences of a bumper crop in the winter season which, was enough to compensate for the loss incurred during monsoon. The other incident was the rejection of the proposal of the Gandak Canals, in 1872, by the Lieutenant Governor who put the proposal in a cold bag citing the 'Damodar mistake' that the spring level in north-west Bihar is quite high and the construction of the canals in that zone would aggravate waterlogging. It is altogether a different matter that the construction of this canal (Tribeni Canal) was started in 1897 following the famine of 1896 .under relief operations. The administrators and engineers like Sir Charles Illiot (1895), Capt. F. C. Hirst (1907), W. A. Inglis (1893 & 1910), William Addams (1928), Capt. G. F. Hall (1937). W. B. Murrel (1942) and Rai Bahadur P. C. Ghosh (1942) etc. had successfully mounted pressure on the Government against embanking of the rivers.

In independent India, the crusade to tame the Kosi started with the proposal of the Kosi High Dam (KHD) at Barahkshetra in Nepal at an estimated cost of Rs. 177 crores (1950) followed by the proposal of an earthen dam at Belka (Nepal) in 1952 at an estimated cost of Rs. 55.5 crores and finally culminating into the proposal of the construction of embankments and canals on the river in 1953 at an estimated cost of Rs: 37.31 crores. The components of irrigation and power production were added to this flood protection scheme to make it more lucrative. The engineers were now relegated to background from the flood control scenario and the politicians had occupied the centre stage. Misinformation was systematically spread about the performance of the embankments on the Hwang-Ho, the Mississippi and the Po. That the countries which these rivers traversed and, subsequently, tamed are very happy with the performance of the jacketting. All this conspiracy was hatched to justify the embanking of the Kosi.

Our country had one time the tradition of performing Sati when the widows of a deceased was forced to accompany her husband on the burning pyre and this inhuman tradition was revered as a sacred deed and held the brutally murdered lady in high esteem. Her death was ensured amidst the beating of the drums, blowing of the conches and other noisy musical instruments so that the screams from the pyre were not heard. When the Kosi was embanked in 1955, the atmosphere here was almost the same. A population of around two lakhs people, spread over about 300 villages, that was going to be trapped within the two embankments, kept on screaming for help but those playing the drums never heard their voices. For them the sacrificial goat is ensured a place in heaven and its' sacrifice is a matter of pride for the performers of the sacrifice. The Kosi was embanked and with that the fate of the embankment victims was also sealed. The embankments on the Gandak, constructed in the eighteenth century, had existed that time and all the related difficulties were known to the politicians of those days. This included the miserable plight of the people living within the embankments, the frequent breaches of the embankments and the massive water logging. These places are such that a film, say, on the pre-Buddha period can be shot without much of preparation as no signs of modern development exists in those areas. A sizeable number of people from the Kosi area were resigned to their fate once the Kosi embankments were constructed. A drama, however, in the name of rehabilitation was surely enacted.

Now that it was being said, time and again, for over a century, that the embanking technology is defective, that it is a futile exercise to look for flood protection from the embankments, that the embankments convert flood into deluge and that constructing embankments is like peeling a debt on the future generations, the repayment of which can only be through disasters and so on, then it was difficult to convince a common man that the technology had suddenly become acceptable and free from all evils. Veteran leaders like Pt, Nehru, Shri Gulzari Lal Nanda, Dr. Shrikrishna Sinha, Pt. Lalit Narayan Mishra and many others used their influence to ensure the people that the embankments were a lesser evil than the uncontrolled river and the people should not be unnecessarily worried. This was done to impress upon the people that the Government was concerned about their welfare and would not leave any stone unturned to ensure their well being. Just before, and also during the construction of the Kosi embankments, the Ghoghardiha village of the Madhubani district was almost like the second home of the then Planning Minister Shri Gulzari Lal Nanda. The Western Kosi Embankment was aligned to pass very close to this village. It was from this village that Shri Nanda used to issue statements to assure people that an era of prosperity would soon usher on them following the construction of the Kosi embankments. To dispel any fear, from the minds of the people, the Government used the services of the engineers also.

The Government sent two veteran engineers, Rai Bahadur Kanwar Sain, then Chairman of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Dr. K. L. Rao, Director, CWC, who later became the Minister for Irrigation at the Centre, to China in 1954, to study her river valley projects in the basins of Hwang-Ho, Huai, and Yang-Tse. These engineers were expected to make recommendations for embanking the Kosi, based on their findings of the performance of the Hwang-Ho embankments. These engineers had a lot of praise for the Hwang Ho embankments and they were virtually moved by the public co-operation in the construction and maintenance and repairs of these embankments there. With the certification for Kanwar Sain and Dr. K. L. Rao, the technical legitimacy of the Kosi embankments was established.

But both these engineers were Indians, and since our enthusiasm for the foreigners is well known, two American engineers, Messrs Maddock and Torpen, were also made to issue statements in the favor of the Kosi embankments. And just as we were copying the Hwang-Ho model of China, the Chief Engineer of Water Conservancy in China, Wang Hu Cheng, also was made to okay the Kosi embankments, although his tone was a bit subdued but the purpose was served. The fact, however, was that ever since the Mississippi was embanked (18th Century), it never allowed the Americans to live in peace. The floods of the Mississippi in 1882, 1886, 1905, 1910 and 1927 were devastating despite the embankments and the Hwang-Ho, which was embanked in the 7th Century B. C., had its' embankments breached at fifty places in 1933 resulting in death of over 18,000 people. And in 1939, Chiang Kai Shek, in an attempt to repel the attack of the Japanese army, had bombarded the Hwang-Ho embankments. The emanating water swept the entire Japanese army away but in exchange about eight lakh ninety thousand innocent Chinese people were also washed away. The Hwang-Ho embankments had breached around 200 times during 1855 to 1954. In the past nine hundred years the Hwang-Ho had changed its' course 26 times and on nine occasions the river could not be brought back into its' old course. The story of the Po embankments was also not very encouraging. To dispel doubt from the minds of the people, the promoters of the Kosi embankments played their trump card when they succeeded in arranging a visit of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, then president of India, in October, 1954, to North Bihar and he issued appeals to the public to extend all the co-operation in the process of nation building and the construction of the Kosi embankments afforded that opportunity. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, however, had the reputation of being a staunch critic of embankments.

The North Bihar rivers are now embanked because some people chose to keep quiet when they ought to have spoken and the others spoke too much when they should have kept quiet and all that was known some hundred and fifty years ago is happening here now. If this issue is raised with an engineer, he retorts that if the embankments were that bad why did the people allow the embankments to be constructed, in the first place. They claim that the people had welcomed the construction of the embankments and had very happily gifted their lands for the purpose. The fact is that if at all the people welcomed the embankments it was in response to the call of their respected leaders, in the name of nation building, and not because they were very happy with the embankments. Once the embankment folly was exposed to them following the rains of 1955 and 1956 then those living inside the embankments got a glimpse of their future, opposition begun. Is it not a fact that when the construction of the western Kosi embankment started near the villages of Chunni, Tekunatol, Mataras, Tardiha and Mahisam in the Madhubani district, armed police was guarding the construction work. It is also not a fact that the work on the Agargarha Dhar Closure, in Madhepur in the same district, was suspended in December 1956 on the plea that more and more armed police force would be needed and would be available only after the general election in 1957 and the work was proposed to be completed then. Were the members of the Bharat Sevak Samaj and the Kosi Project employees greeted with open arms in Jamalpur circle of Darbhanga district where the women and children did He down on the embankment alignment protesting that the embankment be built on their corpses. Is it not true that the agitators had burnt the office of the Bharat Sevak Samaj and the Kosi Project in this sector and chased away the labours in protest against the embankments. On the eastern side also, the situation in Bangaon and Supaul always remained volatile.

The situation was, to and extent, within control until the construction of the Kosi embankment as, at least, some thinking, some preparation and some debate had taken place in this regard. But immediately thereafter, without much of preparation and thinking and almost without any debate and even without proper designs, the rivers like the Kamala, the Bagmati, the Burhi-Gandak, the Adhawara group of rivers and the Mahananda were embanked. The embankment on the Bagmati, between Dharmapur and Badlaghat, is a case in point. The project report of the Bagmati (1981-82) clearly mentions that precautions were not taken in deciding the spacing and the height of the Bagmati embankments. It was during the emergency that the upper reaches of the Bagmati, between Dheng and Runni Saidpur, were embanked when no voice of dissent could raise its head. The engineers of the Water Resources Department of Bihar, on the condition of anonymity, accept that embanking the Bagmati was a blunder. There was a vast difference in the understanding of the flood situation and the aftermath of the Mahananda embankments among the politicians, engineers and the common man. In case of the Kamala, the people organised themselves in the Babu-Barahi block of the Madhubani district and blocked its construction in thirteen kilometer length near Pirhi and Salkhania. Ironically, this is the only reach of the river where floods do not cause any devastation and the crop production is still secured. The stories of destruction caused by the Adhawara and the Burhi Gandak can be read by turning through the pages of any Bihar newspaper of any year between July to September. The Gandak had already fallen prey to the embankment builders just before the advent of the British.

The nett outcome of this whole exercise is quite interesting. There was only 160 kilometer length of embankments in Bihar, in 1954, the year of the promulgation of the first flood policy of the country and the flood prone area of the state was 25 lakh hectare and today, in 2002, the embankment length along the Bihar rivers has risen to 3,430 kilometers and the flood prone area has touched a staggering figure of 68.8 lakh hectares, The cost of this debacle is around Rs. 1,327 crores which does not include the cost of the establishment, if that is added, the expenses might as well double. It is also interesting to note that embankment length along the rivers in the state had touched the figure of 3,465 kilometers in 1992 but 35 kilometers of it was washed away during 2000-2002. Now, it is the concern of nobody that the investment in the flood control sector is causing more harm than good and something serious must be done to check this trend. it the embankments breach, all the concerned people disown the incident saying that this is the job of the 'anti-social elements'. After all, why the 'anti-social elements' do not look for some other lighter and less risky jobs. Until a few years ago, it was customary to put the blame for breach in the embankments on to the rats and foxes who, reportedly, used to dig holes in the embankments. Where have those rats and foxes gone these days. Probably, they have dug their holes in Patna and Delhi. For the past few years, there is a growing tendency for blaming Nepal for the floods in northern Gangetic plains of Bihar and U.P. that she releases water into the rivers debanching into the plains from Nepal and it causes floods in the area. This again, is a case of taking advantage of people's ignorance as but for a small dam in the Bagmati basin there is no control as such in Nepal, the releases from which can flood the plains downstream. There are barrages constructed on the Kosi and the Gandak and these are manned by the engineers of the Bihar Water Resources Department. So if there is any release of water and subsequent flooding, it is they who are responsible not Nepal as it is made out to be.

And what happened to those for whose benefits these projects were undertaken. The people living outside the Kosi embankments are facing either severe water logging or, else, acute shortage of irrigation facility despite the presence of the Kosi Canals. No outsider would ever believe the plight of the people living inside the Kosi embankments. For him it is shocking to know that the people of 338 villages are facing flooding, erosion, sand casting. loss of crops, loss of their dwelling units etc. on a regular basis, for the past forty five years and the outside world is not even aware of the situation and nothing has been done for them. Well, they have been given liberal promises by all and sundry. They have been promised house for house, land for land, all the civic amenities at their door-steps, reservation in jobs, job for at least one member of the family in the Kosi Project and so on. Whenever some voice is raised, some more carrots are dangled before them. When the attempts to physically rehabilitate the embankment victims failed, as neither there was so much of land available to give land for land nor there were enough jobs in the Kosi Project; the question of their economic rehabilitation came up for consideration and the Government appointed a committee, under the chairmanship of Shri Chandra Kishore Pathak, in 1979, the report (1982) of which found acceptance of the Government in 1987 leading to the constitution of the Kosi Sufferers Development Authority. Leaflets were dropped from helicopters stating the aims and objectives of this Authority and its concern for the embankment victims. Ensuring the working of the Development Authority has now become an election issue and repeated promises are made that if so and so is elected he/she will make the Authority functional. This includes even those who were quite active and, to an extent, responsible for the construction of the Kosi embankments.

The mockery of the flood control that was made between the Kosi and Kamala Doab terminated in the declaration of the Kusheshwar Asthan block of the Darbhanga district into a bird sanctuary in 1994. The waters of the Kamala, the Kosi and the Kareh converge into this block and there is no arrangement to drain this water out since the bedlevel of these rivers have risen due to their embanking. Boats ply almost round the year in this area. The landlords have become waterlords. Water hyacinth has replaced paddy and the block has been rightly declared a bird sanctuary to develop tourism.

At this stage, one is reminded of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy which has tilted ‘on to one side’ because of the constructional defects in its' foundation. Straight and vertical towers exist all over the world but the leaning tower is just one, at Pisa, and hence a great tourist attraction. Kusheshwar Asthan of today is just a product of technical incompetence and shortsightedness of the planners and has all the qualifications of being a tourist attraction. About 1,24,000 hectares of land between the Koti-Kamala Doab is waterlogged and it is that chunk of land which was supposed to have been irrigated by the Western Kosi Canal (WKC) which is yet to be completed. This is also the land on which a good number of people from within the Kosi and the Kamala embankments were given the rehabilitation sites but the misfortune chased the displaced persons here also and most of them reverted back to their old villages and face the fury of the floods every year. Actually, the kind of hardships that the residents of 338 villages, with a population of about eight lakhs, within the Kosi embankments are facing is overshadowed by the plight of those living outside the embankments. On popular demand, the first committee to study the living conditions of those trapped between western embankment of the Kosi and the eastern embankment of the Kamala was established by the Central Water Commission in 1959 and the last proposal of draining the water out from the Kosi-Kamala Doab was mooted in 1988 at an estimated cost of Rs. 52 crores. Some more works are added by the Ganga Flood Control Commission recently. It has not been put into practice so far. It is only a difference in figures but the situation within the Bagmati, the Burhi-Gandak, the Gandak and the Mahananda embankments, and outside them, is roughly the same.

These irrigation and flood control projects have uprooted and displaced a large number of people and edged them out to look for employment else where. The women are facing all the evils resulting from the migration of the male head of the family and the carpet industry of Mirzapur. Bhadohi, Varanasi and Allahabad is thriving on the cheap child labour available from North Bihar. It is not for nothing that the Government has started plying the buses between Patna and Bhadohi, nor it is difficult to understand the meaning of direct bus service from Kunauli, Saharsa or Muzaffarpur to Delhi or Jalandhar. The trains like Shramajeevi Express or Sharamshakti Express could have been named as Ajatshatru Express or Tirabhukti Express but the given names are, probably more close to the reality. Bihar, despite its fertile land, and ample water resources has become a source of cheap labour for the country.

The minister of water resources. Government of Bihar, accepts these days that it was a mistake to embank the north Bihar rivers, other than the Kosi, and that these embankments are political. It suits him to say so because when most of these embankments were constructed, a different political party ruled the state and, obviously, no body should be blamed for the mistake of the others. But for the past some years, the annual report of the Water Resources Department has been mentioning regularly that it has plans to construct 872 kilometers length of embankment along the Bihar rivers and it has not been possible to carry out the plans because of the paucity of funds. Who should now be believed, the minister or his department? The fact is, probably, that the process to mislead people which started in early fifties of the last century has not stopped yet. It is now being said that the solution to the flood problem of North Bihar lies in the construction of a 280 meter high dam at Barahkshetra in Nepal and it is being said so very seriously for the past fifty five years. There was a stiff public opposition to the construction of the Arun-III dam on one of the tributaries of the Kosi in Nepal, the funds were stopped by the World Bank, and the work on the dam has been suspended for a long time there but the morale of the Indian promoters of the dams in Nepal is still quite high because it is assumed that the public in India, In general, is not aware of the developments in Nepal. Financing such mega-projects is a big question and whether a poor country like India is in a position to incur such a debt is also questionable. In the present day market economy, multinational companies are showing interest in these dams, proposed in Nepal. Obviously, flood control, will never become their priority. There is a lot of confusion over the role of MNCs in the political evides in India. Rallys are taken out against them in February/March every year and the demands for building dams in Nepal are made in the month of August. This issue is yet to be resolved. Moreover, our experiences with Enron, in Maharashtra, have not been very encouraging.

Embankments were relatively small and low priced works and the resulting miseries and problems also were comparatively small. The proposed high dams in Nepal will be gigantic works involving huge costs and will pose problems proportionate to their sizes. It was relatively easy if the dams had been built some fifty years ago but now, when such structures have come in for criticism at various levels for various reasons all over the world, their implementation becomes doubtful. As far as the Barahkshetra dam on the Kosi is concerned, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Singh had clarified in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha, in 1954, that the question of the safety and Security of the people residing downstream of this dam, in Bihar and West Bengal, was directly linked to its construction and the Government is not prepared to run the risk over the safety of so many people. Needless to remind that the work on the Sardar Sarovar, the Subrnrekha and the Tehri dam have suffered for a long time due to extra-technical reasons. It is getting increasingly difficult to get a leader to lay the foundation stone of the Koel-Karo Project. In this back ground it is not difficult to assess the fate of the dams proposed in Nepal. On the other hand, flood protection, which is stated as the motivating factor for the construction of the dams in Nepal, figures very low in priority in these dams which are basically proposed to tap hydroelectric power. This fact, however, will be told later to the public.

There is a need for a review and open debate over all these issues so that the people can form their own opinion in the light of the available facts. It is a good sign that the engineers have started using the world 'flood management' instead of 'flood control' these days. It has started occurring to them that it is not possible to control the floods and, somehow, the floods will have to be put up with. The technical arrogance is giving way to the adoption of appropriate and time-tested means of the affected communities in dealing with the floods but the achievements are no where visible. One will have to realize that an arrogant and sturdy banion free gets swept away by the swirling river waters but a mild cane plant remains free from the onslaught of the river. The concept of living with the floods will have to be developed and resorted to. Merely changing names, from flood control to flood management is not going to help.

While raising the issue of the floods one should be cautious of some of the risks involved. It is easier to talk about the drought for the reason that the area-spread of drought is larger and its impact is felt and discussed round the year. But the flood affected areas, in our country, are relatively smaller and the debate is seasonal and short lived. At best the flood issue is discussed for three months a year. The politicians strive that the debate does not go beyond polythene sheets, ration, salt, candles and. match-boxes, while the engineers strive hard to escape the blame of any flood related accident. Both of them often succeed because the issue is live only for three months beyond which even the flood victims do not want to discuss it any more because it is the sustenance. and not the flood, that is of immediate interest to them and that puts a severe restriction on any such debate. Unless the flood issue is allowed to come out of the boundaries of the salt, candles, and match-boxes or at best, the enquiry committee reports which are rarely made public, any effort to highlight the issue will not bear any fruit. Until then the status quo will be maintained and the floods will keep on repleating themselves year after year.

(Abstracted from the forthcoming book 'Do Patan Ke Beech Mein' by the author )

 

ऐसे आती है बाढ़

(इस पुस्तक के अन्य अध्यायों को पढ़ने के लिये कृपया आलेख के लिंक पर क्लिक करें।)

1

ऐसे आती है बाढ़

2

Thus come the floods

 

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