Misled Public and Hydro Projects Impact Terai Provincial Boundary Controversy

Detailed irrigation development studies of all districts from Parsa to Saptari by diverting Sun-Kosi River were conducted with the help of UNDP/FAO; Similarly for Jhapa by diverting Kankai River(with the help of West German Govt. and ADB); For Rupandehi and Nawal Parasi by diverting Kali Gandaki river(with the help of UNDP); Kapilvastu by diverting West Rapti river (with the help of West German agency); Banke, Bardia, Kailali by ADB, JICA by diverting Bheri river along with irrigation water drawing directly from the Karnali storage dam project (with the help of ADB, JICA and World Bank).

Issue Name : Vol.10,No 15, March 24,2017 (Chaitra 11,2073)

Large storage dam projects  are  going  to   be implemented in mid-hill in  future almost  totally sacrificing  the interest  of local inhabitants  because those  proposed dam projects  would  be  extremely vital for Terai.  Thus it would be quite ridiculous in course of fixing  the provincial boundaries  to raise    the question of isolating  Terai from the mid-hill, which is  going  to  be the main source of water supply  for  Terai  in future. 

False Assurance to Hill  People

At  present time  the world is  becoming increasingly disenchanted with large storage dams,  and  as  a result even  the existing  such  dams  are  proposed  to be  decommissioned  on the pressure of  local  inhabitants and environmentalists  because of  their grave negative   impact   on  economy  and  development  of  the region  surrounding  such giant man-made lakes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Unfortunately  in our country the innocent  unsuspecting local  inhabitants   are completely  misled.    They are promised   a  great  prosperity upon the  completion  of the large storage dam projects. 

World  Commission  on  Dams

The  following  is  the  excerpt from  the  World Commission on Dams  Report  published in  2000,  which clearly  helps us to come to the conclusion that contrary to assurance of our policy makers  and planners  the inhabitants of the mountain region would  be greatly impoverished  after the implementation  of large storage dam projects.

Dams take a set of resources – a  river and the lands along the banks , generating  food  and livelihood  for local people, transform them into another  set of  resources – a reservoir, hydropower and irrigation, providing benefits to people living elsewhere. There is a sense, therefore,  in which large dams  export rivers and lands, removing them from the productive domain of one community to make  them available to another.

Depletion of  Terai Water

Abundant water diverted from  the hill into Terai particularly in dry season is nothing less than nectar  for  Terai lands year by year suffering  from constantly growing  shortages of water critically needed to meet the  irrigation requirement of Terai.  These are the finding of vast studies already carried out by various reputed international agencies  and donor governments. 

The water resources of Terai is being depleted due to  the main following reasons:

(1)     There was a rampant deforestation in the past across the entire  Terai region and its adjoining Churia area.  This has led to gradual drying up of the local rivulets and streams that were traditionally the source  of local irrigation. Contrary to it, area under cultivation has greatly increased due to deforestation, which has led to increase in  demand for water needed to irrigate new lands.

(2)     There is a rapid growth of  population in   the upper catchment areas of  small and medium sized rivers also directly flowing  into Terai from the hill areas. The flow of these  rivers is being increasingly used in the hill region itself during the dry season since a long time with the result that the dry season flow of such rivers in Terai is constantly decreasing.

(3)     Substantial withdrawal of ground water in future for irrigation in Bihar and UP that have   deeper aquifer bottom would have adverse impact on ground water potential of our Terai. An example of such case is the Mississippi v. Memphis Ground Water Dispute in the USA.  Mississippi state had blamed Tennessee for unlawfully withdrawing its ground water by forming deep cone of depression.   


Complete  Dependence of Terai on Water from Remote Hills 

Detailed studies of several projects have already been conducted to recommend ways to resolve water supply to irrigate on a large scale Terai lands by diverting  water from the water resources projects located far away in the mountain region. They are as follows:

Detailed irrigation development studies of all districts  from Parsa  to  Saptari by diverting Sun-Kosi River were conducted with the help of UNDP/FAO;   Similarly  for Jhapa by diverting Kankai River(with the help of West German Govt. and ADB);   For Rupandehi and Nawal Parasi by diverting  Kali Gandaki river(with the help of UNDP);  Kapilvastu by diverting West Rapti river (with the help of West German agency);  Banke, Bardia, Kailali by ADB, JICA  by diverting Bheri river along with irrigation  water drawing directly from the Karnali storage dam project (with the help of ADB, JICA and World Bank).  With the exception of irrigation in Jhapa and irrigation drawing water directly from the Karnali storage dam project, all other proposed schemes involve diversion of water from the mid hill by long tunneling across high mountains.

Devastation of Sunsari and Morang Districts

At present vast areas in Terai are frequently  affected by devastating floods. The most serious is the  Kosi flood problem.  Resorting to provision  of  large storage dam projects  in the catchment area  is  the  only reliable solution to  Terai flood  problem  in  general  and  the  Kosi flood problem  in  particular.

 Kosi river channel  bed is  already  well above the surrounding  grounds  due to continued siltation. The embankments have already outlived their useful life.  We have  witnessed enormous loss of life and property in 2008 breach of Kosi embankment  when the flood discharge was only about 1 ½  lack cusecs, where-as  extremely high flood discharge of almost nine lacks cusecs have already been measured twice within  a short  interval of 10 years  some years  ago  when river bed siltation had just started. After that the flood discharge was mostly below 5 lacks cusecs

Well known experts on Kosi, like Sir Claude Inglis, Shillingfeld and many others, have predicted  that the eastern embankment would be breached right away near Chatra.  The Kosi  would completely change its present  course  and  would follow its  original  path  about  70 miles  to the east of the present course accompanied with enormous  loss of  life and property . 

 Provincial   Boundary   

Our Terai    would be the real beneficiary of  the large  storage dam projects to be  built in our  mid hills. Apart from economic prosperity   even  the  physical survival of a vast region of  our Terai  would be  depending  in future on   large storage dam projects to be implemented  in the mid hills  at great sacrifices of the local people.

Separation  of  Terai  from  northern hill  region  in  fixation of   provincial  boundaries  would  be  tantamount  to  suicide for  the people of  Terai.  Unfortunately our economic planners, policy makers,  intelligentsia  and  media  have never tried to explain about  it  to  general  public. 



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