KANCHANPUR — Mahakali Municipality of Kanchanpur district has built bio-embankments in various wards to prevent floods, inundation and erosion. The bio-embankment has been constructed in the most affected wards of Mahakali Municipality, which is at high risk of floods, like Kutiyarkavar of ward-10 and Sundarbasti of ward-8, among other places.
The bio-embankment, which was built by using local resources, will not affect the environment and can be built at lower budget, the Mahakali Municipality said. The Municipality constructed the bio-embankment along the bank of Jogbuda River in coordination with Red Cross Society and Needs, a Non-Governmental Organization.
Locals of Mahakali have been facing the problem of floods, inundation and erosion for the past many years due to the water of Mahakali and Jogbuda rivers. Residents of Kutiyarkavar, ward-10 have been bearing the brunt of inundation and floods every year as India opened the barrage any time. “The flood gushed into the settlement when we were having our dinner and we were at loss where to flee,” Maya Sunar, 53, of Kutiyakavar, ward-10, Mahakali Municipality said, adding, “We are living in fear of floods not only in rainy season but also in winter.”
“Some non-governmental organizations, Red Cross and Municipality constructed bio-embankment this year and it provides some respite to the people,” Sunar said. She said that there used to be around 100 households in the village and now it has decreased to 35. Sunar also demanded the people’s representatives to construct safe shelter for the local people for the rainy reason.
Sunar said so during the Paani discussion organized by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (Nefej) for the second time in the village.
Nefej had organized the program in the village on the same topic earlier also. During the same discussion, local representatives had made six-point commitment. At the program, participants had said that the Municipality had done many works and is still working to develop the village.
Speaking at the program, Basanti Sunar of Kutiyarkavar, ward-10 said that they used to face the problem of floods and inundation in the past but from the last year the villagers are also facing the problem of erosion. “Our main problems are floods and inundation and from the last year we have been facing the problem of erosion too,” she said, adding, “The risk has decreased overtime after the construction of bio-embankment with the help of Red Cross and Needs.”
Sunar said that earlier the locals had no idea about the measures to minimize the damage caused by floods. Now, the villagers are aware about early warning system, how to rescue people and protect themselves during the floods, she said. The Paani discussion organized last time had helped them a lot, she said.
Similarly, Hari Shankar Rokaya of Sundarbasti, ward-8, Mahakali Municipality has demanded the concerned authority teach them about the early warning system like that of Kutiyarkavar. He said that the bio-embankment is being constructed along the bank of Jogbuda river and also said that the bio-embankment is not sufficient to protect the village from floods and inundation.
The people affected from floods, inundation and erosion were present in the program. During the program, Krishna Kumari Budhathoki said that Kanchanbhoj and Tauketole of his village is facing the problem of erosion.
“Putpute is also facing the problem of erosion. The bio-embankment is being constructed along the rivers which has given some respite to us,” he said. He said the afforestation in different places has also helped in preventing the erosion by small amount. Chief, deputy chief and ward chairman had answered the queries of the participants during the Paani discussion.
Speaking at the program, Chief at Mahakali Municipality Bir Bahadur Sunar said that Mahakali Municipality is the most affected municipality in terms of geography. Sunar demanded the province and central government to come up with measures to control the floods. “We are affected from Mahakali and Jogbuda rivers but the government has not done anything to resolve this problem.”
He said that the Rastrapati Chure Conservation is constructing embankments in various areas and bio-embankment is being constructed at Kutiyakavar to prevent from flash floods. The dam constructed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) along the Mahakali river is in a dilapidated condition and it may be swept away by floods at any time, he said. Sunar also demanded that the province and central government help construct the embankment along the rivers.
Likewise, Deputy Chief of the Municipality Chini Giri said that the safe settlement could not be constructed as per the commitment made earlier during the Paani discussion due to lack of budget. But other works like constructing embankment and installing lights in various areas are going on, she said.
Giri said that the Rs 3.5 million budget allocated by province government to construct embankment at Kutiyakavar, ward-10 was used to construct embankment in Maleriyanala, ward-2 as the vehicle could not reach Kutiyakavar due to flood at Jogbuda river. She said that Rs 68.5 million allocated by central government under the Rastrapati Chure Conservation was used to construct embankment in risky areas.
Giri said that the municipality has also been organization tree plantation program in the various wards. The practice of growing vegetables using tunnels has also been gaining popularity in the villages. Speaking at the program on behalf of stakeholders, Jit Bahadur GC, President at Nepal Red Cross Society Chandani Chapter, said that they are providing training about disaster management and early information system and also have been providing rescue materials. The bio-embankment is being constructed at Kutiyakavar in coordination with the Municipality.
Nepal Police and Armed Police Force (APF) personnel are also helping the Municipality to control floods, inundation and erosion. Speaking at the discussion program, APF Inspector Tanka Kunwar said that they are working in coordination with the Municipality.
The police personnel especially give protection to the workers while constructing embankment at the Nepal-India border.
Nepal Police Inspector Chetraj Paneru of Area Police Office Dodhara, Mahakali Municipality said that they are facing the shortage of rescue materials to protect the people and their belongings during the rainy season. Hence, he demanded that the concerned authority provide them two plastic boats to rescue the people.
Ward Chairman Nar Bahadur Sunar of Ward-10, Ward Chairman Arjun Dutta Bhatta of Ward-1, Ward Chairman Gyanendra Bahadur Bahek of Ward-7, Ward Chairman Rishi Ram Chhetri of Ward-9, officials of community forest, Red Cross, journalists and locals were present in the program.
During the program presided over by Nefej Treasurer Sabin Sharma, Lower Mahakali River expert Jagadish Bhatta of Paani Project briefly informed the participants about the Paani Project. Four-point commitment was made during the program.
- Safe shelter will be constructed in Kutiyakavar, ward-10 of Mahakali Municipality
- Embankments will be constructed at the risky places of Sundarbasti, Ward-8, Mahakali Municipality.
- Early Warning System will be implemented in each wards and awareness will be raised among the people.
- Give continuation to the commitments made earlier.