August 14, 2018 06:59 AM NPT
ITAHARI, Aug 14: Water level in the Saptakoshi River has significantly increased since Monday morning. As per the measurement at 4 pm Monday, the water level has reached 224,630 cusecs.
With the rise in water level, sensitive settlements have been cautioned about the risk of flooding.
“The situation is under control so far. But we have to adopt specially high alert after the water level crosses 300,000 cusecs,” said Sunsari’s Chief District Officer (CDO)Prem Prakash Upreti.
High deposit of sand in the Koshi Barrage, which was built in Saptakoshi River 50 years ago, could pose great risk whenever water level changes, he said.
Likewise, lack of proper communication mechanism to alert the surrounding settlements has also increased fear among the locals. Until 15 years ago, sirens would wail whenever the water level crossed the danger level. But the sirens have broken down for a long time and have not been repaired.
Due to risk of flooding, the locals have not been able to sleep properly at night.
Out of the total 56 sluice gates, currently 30 sluice gates of the Koshi barrage are open. The gates should be regulated as per the water level. However, Nepal government does not have control over the gates although the barrage lies inside the country.
The government of Nepal has to request the Indian authorities to open more gates and the Indian side has been slow to respond. In previous years, India has shown reluctance to oblige to such requests, risking great floods in the surrounding settlements.
District Administration Office, Sunsari, said prompt request would be made if they felt it necessary to open more gates.