Bihar · Floods

1948 Floods in Bihar-1 – Inaugural flood after Independence – View from Press Gallery

Guest blog by Dr Dinesh Kumar Mishra (dkmishra108@gmail.com)

Background Bihar is long known for its floods. The British had left India but their legacy of looking at rivers and their floods was still continuing in 1948[1]. They always favored ‘leaving the rivers to their own devices’ and did precious little to tame the rivers. The zamindars used to put temporary and not so temporary embankments along the rivers to provide some flood protection to their ‘ryots’ which used to breach quite often to the detriment of the people living in the flood plains of the river. The repairs of such breaches were the responsibility of the zamindars but if they did not repair the same, the British establishment used to repair it and realize the cost of it from the zamindars. There were only 160 kilometers of ‘well designed and equally well constructed’ embankments on Bihar Rivers then. Zamindars had got a hint from the Government of India that their days were numbered and had little interest in maintaining the embankments in order. It was under these circumstances that the Government of Bihar (GoB) was expected to face the floods for the first time in independent India. Continue reading “1948 Floods in Bihar-1 – Inaugural flood after Independence – View from Press Gallery”