Make Kosi a Boon not a Bane

Bihar is again in the news because of its sorrow that is known as river Kosi. This time it has inundated thousands of square kilometre of Bihar leaving a trial of death and destruction. Lakhs of inhabitants of the state are in grip of floods. Bihar has always been a Cinderella for Central rulers. State leadership and bureaucracy are known to be neck deep in corruption. In fact it should not be treated an act of cruelty if the leaders and officers are summarily shot dead by making them stand in a single file for their dereliction and shenanigans.

Insensitive, inhuman, thoroughly corrupt and incompetent as they are the leaders and officers of Bihar never feel tired of passing the buck on others. It is the one and only reason that Biharis have been looked upon with disdain and derision almost everywhere in the country, otherwise how could any government at the Centre mete out step motherly treatment to the second largest state of India. The condition of the largest state i.e. Uttar Pradesh is hardly better that the neighouring Bihar because of the affliction by same deceases.

The Prime Minister has given Rs 1,000/- crore to meet the ‘national calamity and havoc’. The monetary help is trickling in good measures from other parts of the country. NGO’s and individuals have started contributing their mite to help alleviate the devastation and suffering of the people. But this will only be instantaneous.

Floods in Bihar are recurring endemics. This is not something that comes like Tsunami, Cyclone Katrina or even massive earthquakes which are absolutely unpredictable as on date. How long the governments or for that matter the leaders go on saying that being the low riparian state it has to bear the brunt of marooned rivers because of the torrential flow of waters from Nepal.

Anybody can it say it safely that the treaty between Nepal in India that was signed in 1954, more than half a century ago could not be completed because of internecine squabbles and indecision of leadership. If it had been implemented, Bihar could have become a model agricultural state in the country. The fertile land could have proved to be the bowl of granary; enough to feed nearly 65 per cent population of the country. But alas! That was not done and as a result of it Kosi could not be tamed proving to be the bane of Bihar.

The policy envisaged in 1954 a barrage on the Kosi, one of the most destructive waterways on account of heavy silt deposit caused by its mountainous course in Tibet and Nepal and simultaneous rapid average water speed; raising embankments above and below the barrage; and building a high dam inside Nepalese territory. It may be recalled that Hwang Ho River was considered to be the ‘Sorrow of China’ but when Chinese tamed this river it became a boon for them and it was done when the technology was not that much developed. What is distressing to learn is that normal de-silting operation of the river is hardly done for years together. Embankments are not repaired causing innumerable breaches; what to say of raising the ambitions dam for the benefit of Nepal and India. Massive production of hydro power can solve the constant shortage of electricity in both countries, which will accelerate the industrialization and improve the living standard as well as the style of the people. Needless to mention here that Biharis, except politicians and officers, are known for their hard work and limited needs. If any firm decision is taken in right earnest for turning round the state, it can be done without doubt but that needs determination and will power. Once it is done Bihar will achieve its lost glory. But the million dollar question is whether the leadership would rise to the occasion?

However, as of now the suffering people of Bihar need to be rescued at safer places. The entire country has to stand by Biharis to provide maximum relief and succour to them. Hopefully the country will not lag behind in this humanitarian work.