Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

According to an early February report, the highly ambitious Mahakali project implemented by the Nepalese government requires much more organised effort to control flooding, river shifting and leakages of irrigation canals. This assessment is based on past experiences of the Sarada barrage of the project -- the other being the Tanakpur barrage -- and the shifting behaviour of the Mahakali river. Although faunal life received a boost after the project became functional, devastation of forest areas along the river boundary has been markedly rapid.

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