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Embankment security still not sorted out
BIHAR might see a repeat of last year's floods. The water level is rising in the Kusaha embankment; its breach killed more than 500 people in 2008. The chief engineer in charge of the embankment's maintenance fears that like last year repair work might suffer from criminal attacks. Assaults on engineers and labourers engaged in repair work were reported (see 'Let there be floods', Down To Earth, September 30, 2008).
"Last year, we could not plug the weak points of the embankment due to attacks by antisocials. Repairs had to be stopped, which led to a tragedy," said Rajeshwar Dayal, the chief engineer. He said although the embankments were secure he did not want to take chances. A resolution on the security issue is expected at the India-Nepal talks on July 12 but there is no agenda set yet.
Bijender Yadav, minister of state for water resources, alleged the Centre was not concerned about Bihar's problems. "If the Centre does not take up the issue of security then we will, even if it means a breach of protocol," said Yadav.
See related story on p32. For an update on the India-Nepal talks, see www.downtoearth.org.in