Landslide in India raises flood fear among Khalanga residents

- MANOJ BADU, DARCHULA

Jul 21, 2018-A landslide in India has raised fear of flood in Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula, which is situated on the edge of Mahakali River.

Khalanga residents say the landslide at Khotila area could block the river any time, and when the landslide-dammed river bursts, its outcome could be disastrous for their town.

Five years ago, flooded Mahakali River had swept away 156 homes and killed 12 people in Khalanga. The incident is still fresh in the minds of Khalanga residents.

Apart from the landslide, the people of Khalanga also have Dhauliganga Hydroelectric Project in India to contend with. Five years into its construction, around 70 percent of the project has been completed so far.

Harka Tamata, a local man, said the Indian side usually opens the dam gates whenever there is rainfall in the higher altitude region, letting a large volume of water rush downwards towards Khalanga.“There is the fear of landslide damming the river and the man-made dam of Dhauliganga Hydroelectric Project stealing our sleep,” he said.

Contrary to what the people of Khalanga fear, Sushil Chandra Devkota, the chief of Mahakali River Control Project, sees no immediate flooding threat in the riverside town from landslides, nor from the Dhauliganga Hydroelectric Project.

“The river has been widened to prevent landslides from obstructing its flow. There is no cause for immediate concern,” Devkota added.

As for the Dhauliganga Hydroelectric Project posing threat to Khalanga, the Indian said they consider all possible ramifications before opening the dam gates.

Published: 21-07-2018 07:27

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