Dykes worth millions swept away by floods

  • Hasty construction, substandard materials
- KAMAL PANTHI, Gulariya
 Dykes worth millions swept away by floods

Mar 31, 2015-

Laying waste to millions in taxpayer money, embankments constructed along Karnali and Babai rivers are swept away by floods every year.  As the embankments are constructed in a hurry due to delay not only in budget allocation but also disputes in the bidding process, the embankments fail to stand their ground in the event of floods.

However, the contractors using sub-standard materials to construct dykes in high-risk areas could be another reason why the embankments are swept away so easily by floods. Even this year, construction work on the embankments along the Karnali and Babai rivers was started merely three months before the rainy season, raising concerns among the locals about its effectiveness and longevity. According to an irrigation technician, embankments constructed during the rainy season due to delay in budget allocation and tender process are bound to be of poor quality and hence are swept away easily in the event of floods.

While the floods have been eroding large tracts of agricultural lands every year, the Bhada bridge and Gulariya-Nepalgunj road section are also at risk of being swept away or inundated following the damage suffered by the embankment at Bhada bridge. The embankment was constructed five years ago by the Division road Office at the cost of about Rs 3.5 million.

As the embankments are constructed over a limited area, the floods simply erode other areas, and as most of them are constructed through consumers’ committee using sub-standard materials, they are swept away each year, said Anil KC, chairperson of the District Construction Entrepreneurs Association.

“Unless a far-sighted project is encompassed to minimise the damage caused by the floods, the embankments will continue to be washed away by the floods,” KC said.

Although an embankment using bags of soil was constructed through the consumers’ committee under the citizen’s embankment programme for river control in Patabhar, Daulatpur and other areas at the cost of over Rs 30 million last year, it failed to withstand the floods. Technicians at the district office for Department of Water-Induced Disaster Prevention (DWIDP) said that the embankments were not constructed properly as the tender process had been delayed due to disputes and budget for the project allocated just before the onset of rainy seasons.

Even though embankments were constructed in various parts along the Karnali and Babai rivers over the past two years with an investment of Rs 8.8 million, most of them have been swept away by the floods. According to DWIDP Chief Rakesh Kalwar, the sorry state of affairs will continue to remain so unless the concerned authorities and stakeholders come up with a concrete and long-lasting plan to resolve the problem once and for all.

Published: 01-04-2015 08:40

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