Nepal held India responsible for flood in Kosi

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Kathmandu, Aug 23 (UNI) A high-level Nepal government team that inspected areas devastated by the flood in Kosi river, has held India responsible for the havoc, media reports said here today.

''The devastation took place as the Indian side did not carry out repair and maintenance work on the Kosi barrage and the embankment along the river, thereby violating the Nepal-India Kosi agreement, The Kathmandu Post quoted Khom Raj Dahal, Deputy Director General of the Department of Water Induced Disaster Prevention as saying.

India is entirely responsible for repair and maintenance work and operation of the barrage, as per the bilateral agreement signed in 1954.

More than 60,000 people were displaced when at least four villages were completely under the flood due to the collapse of Saptakoshi embankment. The displaced people are taking shelter in camps, schools and other public places.

"Every year in the past Indian side used to do at least some maintenance work. But this year they did not carry out the repairs," Dahal said.

"This was the main reason why the Kosi breached the embankment and submerged about 10,000 hectares of cultivated land and villages." Indian side used to contact the Regional Directorate of the Department of Irrigation (DoI) in Biratnagar. The DoI plays a facilitating role as and when requested by Indian teams.

"But, this year they did not contact the DoI regional office" Dahal added. However, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu blamed Nepal authorities for the disaster.

"The Indian technical team mobilized required resources and has remained in readiness to carry out the required work to strengthen the embankment but it was prevented from reaching the site. As a consequence, thousands of people in Nepal and India have been forced to suffer a calamity that could have been avoided," the embassy said.

Nepal government has allocated Rs 20 million for the relief of the flood hit people and US government has provided 50000 Dollars for immediate relief.

Various organisations inside and outside Nepal are collecting donation for the flood victims of eastern Nepal.

UNI XC KK RN1555

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