Lack of budget mars river control projects in Jhapa

River erosion and flooding are a perennial problem in Jhapa district. Many people got displaced, and many hectares of land have been destroyed in the disaster. However, authorities concerned are least concerned.

The budget allocated for controlling erosion and flooding is peanuts, said Durga Prasad Pokharel, information officer for the People’s Embankment Office, Jhapa. In the current fiscal year, 2022/23, the Department of Water Resources and Irrigation allocated Rs 20 million to control the Mechi river, which is not enough, he said. “The budget will be used to construct three kilometers embankment. Work is underway,” he said.

Flooding in the rivers including Mechi, Kankai, Biring, Ratuwa, Ninda, Kamal and Mawa have been eroding river banks, incurring thousands of losses every year.

There is no alternative to construct strong embankments in the Mechi river to stop erosion, said a local Niraj Ghimire of Mechinagar-4. But, a lack of budget has been a major concern, he added.

“Insufficient budget results in ineffective work. Now, construction is underway. But, flooding and erosion has not stopped,” he said.

It requires over Rs 17.5 billion to control erosion and flooding in the whole Jhapa district with Rs 5.5 billion to stem the Mechi river alone according to the master plan prepared 10 years ago by the Department.

As per the master plan, more than Rs 3.8 billion is required for the Ratuwa-Mawa river, over Rs 1.7 billion for the Kamal river, Rs 3.9 billion for the Kankai river, more than Rs 2.4 billion for the Biring river and over Rs 5.5 billion for the Mechi river.

In the current FY, the Department has allocated Rs 175 million to control rivers in the district, said Pokharel. The allocated budget are divided for different projects including Rs 30 million for the Biring river, Rs 60 million for the Kankai river, over Rs 46 million for the Mawa river, Rs 20 million for the Ratuwa Mawa river and over Rs 19 million for the Kamal river.

Besides, the government is building 12 km embankment in the Ratuwa Mawa river with loans from the Asian Development Bank. The project cost is estimated to be Rs 300 million. The project has seen the completion of the construction of five km embankment, which is around 50 percent work. The Mainachuli Nirman Sewa Pvt. Ltd. won the contract with three years of deadline.

Source: National News Agency Nepal