I am happy to know that there is one more engineer (as Fatmi himself claimed on a TV channel) from Bihar in ministry that too in Man Mohan Singh's cabinet. We all know the more known engineer-chief minister. I don't know if there are others in responsible position claiming themselves proudly as engineers. I mention this because of the blaming game going on the reason of the recent breach causing Kosi deluge. I wish these engineers helped Bihar in finding the right and robust solution for the sorrow created by Kosi in future. Those in power can take help from all the available talent on the subject in India. If India is lacking the expertise, let us hire the consultants. Can the two gentlemen or ministers help rather than simply politicking as usual on this critical issue too?
Media in last fortnight has come out with a lot of information about Kosi deluge. Many reputed persons including NK Singh have written about it. Most of them relate to fixing the failure
. Even the governments at the center and the state appear to be playing the blame game rather than doing the best that is possible to reduce the miseries of affected millions. One thing is but sure that even the disaster management of the country is of extremely poor standard and inefficient.
The stories of miseries of the massive population affected by the Bihar Deluge are continuously shocking the country. Many of the news are just disturbing. I knew Kosi from my geography book in childhood itself as 'the sorrow of Bihar'. The present deluge is just unprecedented. The breach made Kosi to follow a route that it never followed for hundred odd years. Death tolls for human beings as well as cattle's are not known and perhaps may not be known at all. The calamity affected around 40 lakh people across 16 districts and must have destroyed more than 3 lakh houses. It might be the biggest evacuation of the world for a safe location.
But beside the relief work, work must start on long-term solution.
According to one expert on flood, building a barrage and an embankment to tame the turbulent Kosi was an unimaginative response to the flood problem by the Bihar Government. "The best possible solution to the problem would be to "let such a river spread as much as possible. That is the way fertile deposits are left behind and there is moisture left on the ground as well. It is the people who need to learn to live with the traditional flooding."
But I don't think the advice provides the right solution. As reported, the breach in the eastern embankments of the Kosi has completely uprooted one of the largest irrigation systems in Bihar - the Kosi Irrigation Project and the extensive damage caused by the flood would result in severe droughts across nine districts of the region, if the canal system of the irrigation project were not restored. So it appears to be prudent that the Centre and the state should work to restore the irrigation project that may cost around Rs 5,000 to 6,000 crore.
Here are some suggestions on action plans that can be weighed and acted on:
· Construct the high dam (239 metre or so) at Barakshetra about 50 km within Nepal to be backed by a barrage downstream that the Central Water Commission suggested in a report to Nehru in 1956 or come out with a better engineering solution. It is surprising that with all the sufferings and losses of all these 50+ years, the project or a better alternative didn't become the priority of the state or the central government. Today when India is having resources, it must tame the river of sorrow with an engineering solution inspire of its cost.
· Rework on the embankment with hard unimpregnable surfacing with the latest technologies and materials.
· Ensure desilting through mechanical means using latest technology and monitoring methods such as satellite imaging.
· Watchful monitoring of breaches with onset of monsoon in the catchments area when water level reaches a level prefixed level using the reliable technology.
· Use latest technologies to repair the breach promptly, and learn from other countries that have faced similar problems and developed it.
· Use FMEA and other tools to design and construct barrages, create canals for not allowing the floodwater to take new unknown route rather to take the guided route.
· Interlink Kosi at the upper end with other rives that can drain the water when the level rises.
· Create more and shortest routes for Kosi to get into Ganga.
· Prepare the whole of flood prone region to face disaster as it has been done for Tsunami on coastal side. Prepare seltzers and high points along the side of highways and expressways. Create effective disaster management organization. Fix up responsibility. Train officers and people.
I only wish the politicians don't interfere in finding a technical solution to an engineering challenge.
Indra Ji, namaskaar. If I am not wrong by profession you have been an Engineer so am I. Perhaps only difference is that you are now retired and I am still in profession. Sir, with due respect you sound more like an Engineer who is ‘atkofied’ in 50s and 60s type of macho engineering like sending man to moon and making high dams etc..Sir, that century has gone. In this century engineering is all about coexistence with nature, respecting the ecosystem and its sophistication. One of the key rule of engagement for modern engineers today is to respect the environment. In 50s and 60s ‘geenjo-matho’ the nature was called engineering but today engineering is more about fine balancing our existence with nature. Had it not been ‘geenjo-matho’ the nature in name of engineering how come after 50 years people are finding themselves ruined by Kosi? As Doctors don’t risk ‘geenjo-matho’ the body created by nature during surgery so should not the Engineers. I am much younger to you so ‘chhoti munh badee baat hogi’ but at least accept that today’s engineers have more information and more sophisticated tools to process them in order to find a balanced solution with nature than just blunt high dam of 50s and 70s. Why only Engineers but all human beings should respect the nature and learn to coexist with it. Barring extreme China where people have hardly any voice, today whole world is realising that now scope for ‘geenjo-matho’ the nature is reducing and this topic is becoming off debate on global forum. Please refer following link for alternate debate.
It will be better if Engineers and expert can refine the solutions on similar line. Aaaj ke tarikh me Engineering usi ka naam hai jisse ki kam se kam kharche me khushaali bhi aa jaye aur nature ke saath jyada chhed-chhad bhi na ho. Sir, I deeply respect your concern for the betterment of Bihar but as I had said in my article now is the time for people of Bihar to realize that they are stakeholder in all this. They must refuge to accept any solution which is beyond their control. Anyway if they don’t realise this now then another ‘PRALAY’ and ‘PRALAY AFTER PRALAY’ will force them to think so.
Sir, I have very high respect for you but please don’t get carried away by agenda promoted by cheap Indian newspapers and magazines like Indian Express and India Today etc. Today you can access more high quality and responsible information over internet. Even western world is in full mood for ‘System Restore’. For example Londoners are very much against mimicking Mega Olympic Chinese style. Rather than building outrageously costly one time usable Mega concrete Structures they are going for building low cost flexible structures which can be scaled down to be used by local communities after the 2012 Olympic. Now this is what I will call Modern, innovative, Green and Clean Engineering.
Sir, today Kosi is ‘shikar’ of ‘geenejo-Matho’ Engineering due to denying the local population a ‘say’ in their matters and greed of others. My Grand Father was born in a slave country called India and he was glad that I am born in an independent country called India. Unfortunately I am realising that his gladness was unfounded actually I was also born in a slave country of different kind. He lived his life so will I but what about by next generation. At least my grand father could console himself by letting me know that he fought for independence of this country but what will I say to my child? However I can see some light in the end of the tunnel as more and more people in so called ‘Free World’ have started questioning mega structures and mega economies. Today more people are opposed to Wal-Mart and TESCO style economy. More people are questioning outsourcing of jobs, SEZ etc, even though cheap Indian Media is still passionate about such ‘ghisa-peeta’ idea. More and more People want to live in free enterprising world where they have a say in their affairs and not in an environment where they have to exchange one kind of slavery with another.
You see I was very busy today and was in no position to write all this but I had to write this so that I can dispute your views because I want others to know that idea of high dam and any attempt to tame Kosi without local participation is disputed. There are no overwhelming reasons to accept such proposals. Even in your article above except saying, “I don't think the advice provides the right solution” you have not cited any reasons as why? No wonder I felt like holding your article by neck and ask, ‘WHY?’ Why India should fund the prosperity of Nepal on the ruins of Bihar? Middle Size Dam may be OK but that should be funded by efforts of Nepal and only Nepal. If Nepal chooses to do so then it should be forced to pay the compensation for any 'jaan-maal' damage in Bihar there after as Nepal is asking today. On the other hand Bihar should learn to live with floods and implement various methods (at panchayat level with local participation under the leadership of CM under NREGA or otherwise) to turn it into a gift rather than disaster. Floods or changing course of Kosi are not new for North Bihar but yes its effects as disaster are indeed new for Bihar. AND IF INDIAN GOV and BIHAR GOV CAN NOT HELP PEOPLE OF BIHAR WITH THIS MUCH THEN jaise kosi ke log badh me apne gaai-bhains ko rakh-rakhav me asamarth pane par khula marne-bahne ke liye chhod diya waise hi Gov ko bhi kosi ke logon ko apne haal pe chhod dena chahiye. Are Sir, kaayde ka relief to Gov provide kar nahin saki kahan aap logon ko Teflon High Dam aur expressway ka sapna dikha rahe ho? Management of so called Relief camps are so bad that people are running away from it and returning to their drowned huts. Such is the faith of people in government relief!!!!