Doda having sleepless nights


Jul 29, 2014-

With the onset of rainy season, Doda locals have had sleepless nights in fear of being swept away by floods. The frequent floods in Doda River has taken locals through treacherous conditions.

The locals very well recall the 2008 flooding of the river that had ravaged the entire Dunga village in ward-7, and in Shankarpur where more than 160 households were displaced. Recollecting the atrocious time, local resident Jhaggu Prasad Chaudhary fears of catastrophe if a similar incident is to happen at ward-8. “We would be lucky to survive that, and even if we do we have no clue of what to do next,” Chaudhary said. The 2008 floods had reportedly eroded more than 200 hectares of land.

According to a resident of ward-8, Kashiram Joshi, some of the displaced have been living at Raniban shelter in the hills of Shobhataal, while others have been living with relatives or have turned into squatters, leaving about only 13-14 households in the entire settlement. Joshi warned the government that the locals would have to go through a similar fate if the concerned authorities failed to act on the situation beforehand.

The 150 households in ward-8 have continuously expressed their concerns of being flooded since the river changed course entering into various settlement from Dewatbhuli VDC up to Shankarpur. Chaudary rued on the fact that the area’s real estate value has significantly declined following the threats of flood. “The land in the area used to fetch around Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000. But now people think twice before purchasing the land even at the cost of around Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000,” Chaudhary said.

Chaudhary expressed his dissatisfaction over how Dunga villagers have been overshadowed by the recent incidents of floods in Bhujela and Dodhar, Chadani in Mahakali. The locals had reportedly vented their ire on a team of journalists who reached the location for an on-site reporting.

Mahakali faces a similar fate citing the delay in allocation of funds to construct embankments, and the protest of a few flood victims in the area. “The agreement over the construction of embankments spanning 1.7 kms along the river banks in Shankarpur 7-8 was completed on May 24. But the funds worth around Rs 80 million has frozen after the protests of locals,” said engineer Karbir Saud of People’s Embankment Office.

The locals and flood victims have been demanding the government for resettlement. Saud said that the victims had been obstructing the construction demanding the authorities to find a suitable location for resettlement.

“We cannot delay the construction and put thousands of lives at risk owing to the protests of a few,” said Joshi, adding that, now, an agreement had been reached with all the stakeholders at the local level, stressing that the work should be resumed immediately after the end of the rainy season.

Published: 30-07-2014 09:22

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