Guest Blog by Eklavya Prasad, Megh Pyne Abhiyan
Last week, a note was in circulation, which listed few border related conflicts between India (Bihar) and Nepal (Parsa). Of the nine points mentioned in the note, seven were directly or indirectly related to either a river, or access to water, or flood protection works. Out of the seven, one issue was with regard to an old concern involving River Pandai, which has witnessed different dimension of cooperation and discord between communities across the Indo-Nepal border in Pashchim (West) Champaran and Parsa districts respectively. However, the note highlight the conflict as a recent one with a specific intent and that was explained as ‘नेपाल की करतूत : पानी रोक लिया, ताकि एसएसबी के जवान परेशान हों‘ (Nepal’s handiwork : They stopped the water to trouble the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans). After having read the note, I decided to write this piece based on my own understanding and learnings (through direct interactions and personal communication in the past and references) about River Pandai and Bhikhna Thori, to provide a comprehensive perspective.
Continue reading “Story of small transboundary river: Understanding Bhikhna Thori and River Pandai on India-Nepal border in Pashchim Champaran, Bihar”
Above: Cover photo and map from NIDM report of Bihar floods 2007
Guest blog by: Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra
West Champaran district of Bihar is located in the Northwestern corner of the state and is surrounded by the Gandak and the Burhi Gandak along with their tributaries. Two of its blocks, Madhubani and Thakaraha, are located on the western bank of the Gandak and are adjacent to the Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh. There used to be a rail line connection between Chhitauni Ghat of Uttar Pradesh and Bagaha in Bihar. A bridge connecting these two towns was washed away during the floods in 1924 and the British Government did not restore this bridge as the train service was coming handy for the freedom fighters to travel to UP and vice versa. This bridge and the rail service were restored a few years ago. The administration of these two blocks (these are split into four now) is run from Padarauna in UP during the flood season as the blocks get thoroughly disconnected from Bihar. To prevent the westward movement of the Gandak and embankment named Pipra-Piparasi Ghat embankment (PP Embankment) was constructed in 1960s as the river has a tendency to shift towards the west and there is a constant pressure of the river on this embankment during the rainy season. At times, the safety of this embankment is threatened and there is long history of its breaches and the engineers of the Irrigation Department face a tough time maintaining the embankment. When the rail bridge was not there on the Gandak one had to go to Madhubani and Thakaraha by crossing the Ganga via Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj. Continue reading “Bihar Floods in 1987 – III – West Champaran”