The monsoon is still to spread its wings in the Northern part of the country and yet Patna finds itself in knee-deep water.
Bihar is India’s one of the most flood-prone states, mostly due to its geographical location and also due to the ugly amount of corruption that goes on in the state. Last year, its capital Patna faced one of the worst floods in its history. Bihar flood is not a recent occurrence either, it has been happening for a very long time now.
The state government faced embarrassment from all over the world and vowed to rectify the issue and not let it happen again. Large sums of money were spent on the preparation for the 2020 monsoon and yet here we are. The first rain of 2020 has exposed the state governments “planning”.
This is what happens when corruption meets incompetence. It looks like not a single paisa was spent on the preparation and every rupee went to each politician’s pockets. It happens every year and the public seems to have accepted this as normal. Largely because they don’t have anything else to compare the current government against. Bihar’s governance has been corrupt and incompetent throughout history. In recent memory, nothing good has been done by the government.
People assume it’s just how governments across the globe function and so there is no retrospect of the government’s working. Flood, when combined with Coronavirus, could be even deadlier than it is now and the state public should just be ready for it since the state government has given up on them and the central government has other sets of priorities altogether.
What is the main reason for flood in Bihar?
The state of Bihar gets flooded every year despite crores being spent to stop it. Although corruption certainly fuels it, there are other reasons for it too. Some of the major ones are as such.
The biggest reason for flood in Bihar is the river Koshi. Koshi river is also called the sorrow of Bihar because it uproots many villages and takes many lives every year.
The Koshi river is known to change its course every year and this results in it running through unsuspecting villages and towns.
This is mainly because the Koshi river is very shallow and when a large amount of water comes into it in the rainy season, it overflows from its embankments and goes into nearby areas. This has been going on for centuries but as the population grows and settlements crop up around Koshi it is becoming more dangerous year by year.
Opening of Koshi Barrage
Koshi barrage is a barrage in Nepal which holds water at the border of the country so that there is enough for farming and other needs. This works very well for summers when there is very little rainfall.
Holding a large amount of water in rainy seasons, however, becomes dangerous as it starts to flow into the nearby villages. Nepal’s government holds the water until it crosses dangerous levels and that’s when it opens the barrage.
This amplifies the water level in the river which is already flowing to the brim. Opening of the barrage tips the river to overflow and becomes a huge reason for flood in Bihar.
Overpopulation and soil erosion
Another big reason for flood in Bihar is overpopulation around the rivers. As people move near Koshi they level the embankments by the side of the river. This removal of embankment although not problematic in summers becomes dangerous in the rainy season.
The embankments that stop the water from overflowing when removed allow water to flow into nearby villages and towns creating havoc all around.
The sand mafia is the biggest perpetrator of soil erosion near rivers in Bihar. These groups excavate all the sand by the side of the river and sell them for huge profits. The government does nothing apart from looking from afar. Many ministers are themselves involved in this business which makes solving this problem even tougher.
Flood in Bihar is not a recent occurrence. Bihar has been one of the most flood-prone states in India for a long time, a time in which this issue should have been rectified. The incompetence of the government along with a steep rise in population has fueled this problem to become bigger and bigger.
Every year, lakhs and lakhs of people are displaced due to the Bihar flood and many lose their lives while doing so. The Bihar government continues to sanction money that never reaches the target and gets lost in politician’s pockets.
You can come back to this article after every rainy season and you’d find that the situation is exactly the same, if not worsened every year. Patna floods and to a greater extent Bihar floods need a whole new different approach than the one being currently taken to rectify.
The vast sums of money being thrown onto the problem seem to do nothing other than making politicians rich.