Kanchanpur folk troubled by Doda river

- CHITRANGA THAPA, Kanchanpur
Kanchanpur folk troubled by Doda river

Nov 18, 2014-

River bank erosion and floods have become a normal phenomenon during the rainy season in Doda river and a part of life for the people in the north-eastern region of Kanchanpur district.

While the river swells and inundates the settlement during the rainy season, all year round the locals are compelled to face the same trouble in commuting to surrounding villages due to lack of a bridge over the river.

“We have to cross the river carrying our bicycles on our shoulders due to the absence of a bridge over the Doda river,” said local Bishram Rana, pointing towards the line of people wading through the river at Bhakunda in Belauri-7. Rana said that the locals were compelled to take a longer route to reach Dhangadhi, Kailali from Belauri bazaar in absence of a bridge.

While the river has changed it course and eroding the lands near human settlement all year round, agricultural lands in villages near the river in Dekhatbhuli, Shankarpur and Belauri municipalities have turned into river banks due to large amount of sand deposits.

“The river had started displacing locals ever since the 2007 floods, and if measures are not put in place to stop the erosions, the threat of the river flowing from Belauri bazaar to Rambilaspur is very real,” said local Bal Bahadur Rana.

Meanwhile, Bhakunda also happens to be a holy site of Tharu community. The temple of Kaleshwor Mahadev is a revered site and huge festivals are organised during Maghe Sankranti, Shivaratri and Ganga Dusshera. However, the endangered site is threatened by rapid erosions, said Bal Bahadur, a member of the temple management committee.

“All the locals have put their best efforts on river control measures so as to safeguard the holy site of the Tharu community since mid-April,” Bal Bahadur said, adding that the locals in coordination with Belauri municipality and a social organisation have been involved in planting trees and constructing temporary embankments to control the flow of the river.

According to Bishram Rana, the Nepal National Social Welfare Association had conducted a detailed survey in five areas affected by the river and used grants from various international organisations, including Handicap International, for river control. “We have constructed a temporary embankment spanning 175 metres at the cost of Rs 238,000 and even though it has helped in controlling the flow of the river this year, it is not a long-term solution,” Bishram claimed.

Although embankments are being constructed under the citizen’s embankment programme in affected areas at Mahabir Khalla, Dekhatbhuli and Shankarpur VDCs, locals complained that the concerned authorities have completely neglected Bhakunda in Belauri and surrounding areas. Stressing on the need for effective and permanent river control measures, Bal Bahadur said that except for a couple of months during the dry season, they could not sleep due to the fear of floods during the rainy season.  

Published: 19-11-2014 09:16

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