Flood control works in Bakraha river hit a snag due to budget shortage

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Rs 490 million is required for the project, but the government released only Rs 53.5 million this fiscal year.

By Deo Narayan Sah

Flood control works in the Koshi and Bakraha rivers of Province 1 have hit a snag owing to a lack of budget.

As per the master plan of the Koshi and Bakraha River Management Project, flood control works should be carried out in six different sections in the Bakraha river alone in the current fiscal year. A total of Rs 490 million is required for the work, but the government has allocated only Rs 53.5 million this fiscal year for the project.

Floods in the Bakraha river wreak havoc in several settlements in Morang district each year. The river erodes the embankments, inundates the area and destroys crops planted in hundreds of hectares of land.

“The budget released by the government for the project is insufficient,” said Bhilananda Yadav, chief of the project.

Two years ago, the federal Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation had approved the master plan that proposes to construct 68.35 km long embankment, 88 spurs and 26 culverts along the rivers to control floods. The federal government had set up a project office in Biratnagar last year for the project.

The master plan has been prepared for 10 years with an estimated cost of around Rs 3.94 billion.

According to Yadav, Rs 32.1 million was spent on controlling flooding in the Bakraha river this rainy season. The project currently has a budget of Rs 21.4 million.

“The flood control works should be completed before the rainy season or else the floods will destroy the incomplete work. We are unable to initiate any work this year because of insufficient budget,” said Yadav.

Thousands of locals are likely to face the threat of floods this upcoming rainy season due to the delay in flood control works.

“The Bakraha river overflows when it rains heavily every year, flooding nearby settlements. Flood control works should start at the earliest,” said Yadav.