RAUTAHAT, Sept 2: The residents of a village in Rautahat have been forced to stay awake at night due to the fear of flood. The people of Badharwa village which is on the western bank of the Bagmati River have been staying awake all night due to the fear of flood. The members of about 300 households in Bhagwati Rural Municipality-5 have been staying in the dam throughout the night for many years now during the monsoon season.
Bhola Sah, 70, a local from Badharwa cannot sleep in their houses due to the scary sound of the gurgling Bagmati River nearby. “We fear flood when there is rain, and erosion when there is no rain,” Sah said, adding that the villagers are helpless and are dissatisfied with the government for not taking care of its citizens.
Since the village lies in Rautahat district, the villagers cannot make use of the Sarlahi District Office nearby. Instead, they have to either take a risky boat ride across Bagmati or take a 22 kilometers long travel through India to reach the district headquarters Gaur. The village which is situated seven kilometers north-east of Gaur has been affected by the erosion caused by the Bagmati River for the last 20 years. As a result, some of the villagers have moved out from the village while many still live on the banks of the Bagmati River. A local, Indrajit Das said that the villagers are forced to either take a risky boat ride or a long detour through India even for the acquisition of materials of daily use.
The entire village of Badharwa fears that the dam on the eastern bank of Bagmati would be swept away by the river after the spur constructed to support the dam started eroding. As a result, some representatives of the villages traveled via India to Gaur to draw the attention of the local authorities.
On Thursday, a team of Chief District Officer (CDO) of Rautahat, Govinda Prasad Rijal, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Nepal Police Kedar Dhakal, SP of Armed Police Force (APF) Krishna Dhakal and SP of National Investigation Abhinav Singh accompanied by journalists visited the village. It had been 20 years that the authorities from the district had not visited the village. The team was dumbfounded when they saw the situation of the village. According to a local Dinesh Baitha, the villagers pleaded to the CDO to take some strong measures to prevent the flood in the village.
The Chairperson of Bhagwati Rural Municipality, Arun Kumar Sah said that the main problem of the village has been the risky boat ride that the villagers have to take in the monsoon season in the absence of any other way to travel out from the village. Pappu Construction was handed the contract to construct a bridge over the river but it has just constructed some pillars and done nothing else. Sah said, “The villagers have been affected due to the lackadaisical work of Pappu construction.” He said that the municipality is going to help the village with constructing a temporary spur for the dam.
Chief Divisional Engineer of Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project, Raj Kumar Srivastav said that even though five small spurs have been constructed for the dam, as the water keeps rising, the project has started the construction of a large temporary dam too. He claimed that the erosion taking place in Bagmati River is the result of the slow paced works going on for the construction of the bridge.
CDO Rijal claimed that he has already directed the authorities concerned to carry out immediate works to prevent land erosion and create a safer environment for the villagers. “We will neither let the dam be damaged nor let the village be inundated,” he told the villagers, “You can be assured of that.”