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Rivulets pose risk to Dharan settlements
“Though we have requested the government several times to build a permanent wall, our pleas have gone unheard as yet.”
An under-construction bridge over a rivulet along the Dhankute Road in Dharan caved in on Thursday due to unremitting soil erosion. The bridge that was supposed to join Dharan’s ward number eight and ward number 19 had been under construction since 2072 BS.
Moreover, constant erosion and the swollen rivulet have posed a threat to settlements that are 50 meters in height from the collapsed bridge. A temporary gabion wall is being constructed along the rivulet to mitigate the damage.
A local, Gopal Achhami, who resides near the rivulet, said, “If the rain continues at the same pace, the temporary gabion wall won’t protect us from being flooded.”
Likewise, the swollen Tindhuwange rivulet in Bhotepul of Dharan has washed away the edging wall that was constructed only last year at the cost of Rs 400,000. Moreover, incessant erosion along its embankments has also affected the Koshi Highway.
According Dhanbahdur Rai, a local social worker, a temporary edging wall constructed along the rivulet would not hold the force of water if there is another heavy rainfall. He added, “The edging wall around the rivulet is not a permanent solution. Every year, we face the same problem, and we have no option but to sigh at the destruction.”
“The damage is caused due to negligence on the part of concerned authorities and contractors.”
While several large rivers in Dharan such as Sardul, Seuti, Shehara, Adheri and Pokhare, among others, have not risked the nearby settlements even during the rainy season, small rivulets tend to grow unexpectedly large and dangerous amid incessant rainfall.
Meanwhile, Dharan Sub-metropolitan City formed a five-member Damage Evaluation Committee in August to estimate the damage caused due to these water bodies. Naresh Iwaram, president of the committee, said these rivulets had caused more physical damage than the larger rivers that flow along Dharan.
According to him, these rivulets have washed away houses, outer boundary walls, wires, roads and bridges. They have, however, yet to calculate the total damage. The rivulets are deepening each year and becoming uncontrollable, said Officer at the Sub Metropolitan Town Development Division, Kiran Bhujel.
He said, "It has become difficult for us to build a protection wall around the rivulets as they tend to deepen with each passing year. The rivulets are washing away the land from the bottom and landslides are a common phenomenon along these water bodies."
Dhanbahadur argued, "The damage is caused due to negligence on the part of concerned authorities and contractors whereas government officials make short-term plans while developing the city."
As per him, the rivulets were only three feet deep in the year 2050 BS. “With most of the road drainages connected to these rivulets, the depth currently stands at 40 feet. The drainages of different nine wards are also connected to these rivulets.”
Dharan locals have been demanding to build a concrete security wall as a permanent solution to the threat.
Agreeing to the public demand, Bhujel said, "It only natural to seek a permanent solution to the yearly problem. However, the central government should plan and initiate the construction of a security wall with the allocation of an adequate budget.”
“There is nothing we can do right now. Though we have requested the government to build a permanent wall several times, our pleas have gone unheard as of yet."