Your Article does not take into account that Kosi area lies in the worst seismic zones of the world. With this in mind a dam will be dangerous like a sword ever hanging over the head. The deluge and the loss of humans and properties is expected to be much more than what the world has seen in Kosi this year if dams breakdown due to Earthquake.
You have assumed ever flourishing corruption in India but your proposals do not take them into account. There is no culture of routine or planned Maintenance in our working except in central PSUs or Private industries - we wait for the break downs even for our domestic gadgets. Govts are champions of this Breakdown- Maintenance culture. All the time silt gets deposited but no silt removal programme is ever on.
Our Engg thinking is intentionally backward. For North-South flowing flood we have East- West Rail-Roads on almost the same ground level. What can be expected except anarchy and chaos during such a calamity as Kosi Floods 2008 when there was complete break down of Rail Road communication.
World without dams cannot be thought of in today's world because once a Technology or Engg marvels are created they do not go back as they provide both money and comforts to the elites of the society. But this cannot be a prescription for all the time and all the places. Loss of Human lives and properties cannot be allowed to be put to experimentation for ever.
I must confess that I dont claim to be a Flood control expert.So it is a result of common sense approach in which no satellite pictures of American and European rivers have been taken into account. And anyway the richest and most efficient country equipped with all the resources and Advanced planning is not coping up with 100% success with the natural disaster. So they cannot be cited as examples for every place and every occasion.
In view of this and many other aspects I request you to think in terms of Kosi without dams.
Kosi – Flood of Corruption & Dubious Experts (C)
Dear Dr. D.K. Mishra,
Do you know approximately 27 percent of the Netherlands is actually below sea level. This area is home to over 60 percent of the country's population of 15.8 million people? Majority of Dutch people live below sea and rivers EVERYDAY. Your latest report & press release destroys the credibility of Indian engineers who failed to keep embankments in good condition and let big storage dams over flow. Dams are other kind of dykes that keep fresh water stored up in hills.
Dykes and dams are 3000 years old proven technology first mastered by Indus & Egyptian Civilizations. 50% of people in Delhi live below highest recorded flood level of 207 meters in 1978 are protected by embankments but this year over 205.8 meter flood level was reached though discharge in the river was a third of 1978. Flood discharge capacity of all rivers in India has declined due to encroachments allowed by corrupt politicians and engineers.
Kosi flood is worst manmade tragedy this year. River flows were below average for monsoon season – 140,000 cusecs against design discharge of 950,000 cusecs. Bhakra Dam was filled to 50% capacity on July01, 2008 the scheduled day monsoon arrives in Punjab and by August13 was almost full and BBMB opened flood gates for some duration. Most large dams were allowed to fill up to nearly full capacity midway through monsoon season diminishing their flood moderation potential and have not learnt any lessons from Surat 2006 flooding.
Sutlej river expected to discharge 5,00,000 cusecs was flooded and breached embankments when discharge was around 80,000 cusecs mid August. Sutlej River was blocked and plugged when rains in catchments of dams this year were average that saved Punjab from drowning.
So 3-4 days before Kosi breached on 18th, Sutlej had breached at three places already yet National Disaster Management Authority did nothing to warn GFCC. Punjab government and Army failed to plug the breach but local NGOs mobilized farmers and plugged the breaches in hours whereas no one attempted to plug the breach and restore Kosi within the latest stream for four weeks.
Pack of bloody fools run CWC is illustrated by the fact Water Resource budget for XI plan is INR 2,30,000 crores that may go up substantially has no active website. Weekly reservoir bulletin for September11, 2008 is not ready and accessible on September14, 2008 and no flood forecast available. I can download water level and interactive map of any small town and river in USA from Delhi and know exactly how much some one there is above current flood level. http://www.cwc.gov.in/welcome.htm
You too are influenced by writings of academics who continue to believe floods are good for agriculture but don't understand two things first floods are good for primitive agriculture & infrastructure and second in present times damage caused to crops, infrastructure and dislocation of population settled in flood zones due to population explosion is much more than the annual budget of the state. Only good things floods do is flush out all the pollutants to see. Irrigation potential created is over 93 million hectares in India floods damage it extensively. I am returning to this subject again on next page.
I am completely disappointed to read your comments that embankments are cause of floods and need be dismantled.. For many decades embankments let people settle next to river flows removing 3500 kilometers of embankments in Bihar may need relocate perhaps 10 million to safer grounds. Other commentators are extreme idiots. I was my idea to meet President Kalam but for their treachery India would have well established program to TAME Indian Rivers for irrigation, power generation and flood control. The dubious experts led by General S.G. Vombatkere could not convinced President Kalam $120b River Link project is most eccentric that I could have achieved in two minutes.
I met Suresh Prabhu recently for five minutes, he agreed when so much of world's most fertile area is without irrigation facility in Ganga Basin it makes no sense to take Ganga Waters down south at enormous cost when that can irrigate crops in Ganga Basin itself at little cost.
Even more significant was my interaction with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission of Pakistan. I asked "Why Pakistan is creating problems in building storage dams in Indus Rivers of Kashmir when say 20 maf storage in Kashmir would substantially increase storage of downstream dams in Pakistan, increase power generation, irrigation releases and flood moderation capacity at no cost to Pakistan" - he instantly agreed and offered to co-operate in Storage Dam development in Kashmir..
Only few crores were required to restore Kosi left embankment to full strength but flood damage due to negligence of corrupt engineers of GFCC and KFCC resulted in world's worst manmade tragedy.
You can see the Wikimapia pictures the Kosi Barrage and Kosi Canal were full of silt but canal operating Nepal was crystal clear for entire length.
Som Pal as minister in 1998 told the parliament "UP and Bihar states need 167 BCM and 80 BCM of Ganga Waters respectively" whereas usable potential of Ganga Basin is stated to be 250 BCM – possible after obviously development of dams and irrigation infrastructures. Other large states also need Ganga Waters along with riparian Nepal and Bangladesh.
Demolition of Embankments
I am not sure how much your contribution in recommending demolition of embankments is, but certainly it is most lunatic idea.. With demolition of embankments you ought to have recommended demolition of Barrages, Canals, Roads and Railway lines and bridges.
Firstly Kosi Barrage and embankments had saved the flood plains of Kosi and Kosi River was tamed in embankments except for few years that too largely contributed by poor maintenance of embankments. I have downloaded NASA pictures since 1985.
Secondly silt deposited by rivers is a major curse not a boon. Silt is deposited by floods that damage standing crops, fill up all wells and pollute even hand pump. 90 million cubic meter of silt is brought by something like 50 BCM of flood waters.
Thirdly it is gross misconception propagated by dubious experts that silt improve fertility of soils – but fact is floods mostly leave behind heaps of sand that actually reduce the fertility of soils and farmers had to spend huge sums of money to level fields and clear sand deposits. It is only where the water is very slow or stagnating file silt or clay that is fertile gets deposited but after destroying the standing crops. Obviously no one will like to get flooded every year to fertilize his crops. Just about100 kg of NP is all the fertilizer required per hectare in India on average to replenish nutrient needs of agriculture.
Fourthly uncontrolled Kosi would demolish most roads and bridges along with habitation and it would impossible to travel in the area affected by Kosi. This year Kosi in its wild journey must have destroyed many important roads and civil structures that are built over several years of planning.
Storages are essential for human survival. Storage of food, energy, raw materials and water are very important for economic progress. Nature is kind to humans for depositing very high concentration of minerals, water, food and energy sources. We get petroleum for extraction cost of as low as $1 per barrel, coal of up to 95% carbon content whereas diamonds and graphite have nearly 100% carbon. Farmers produce 8 tones of grains per hectare – good enough to feed 50 people in India. Bhakra Dam produces 5 billion units of electricity and diverts close to 20 Billion Cubic Meters of water every year from 160 square kilometers of Gobind Sagar Lake formed by the dam. Even ants and rats store food in their holes and burrows.
Our stomach is also storage of food. All the food we need for a day is gulped in about 30 minutes. Any surplus food we eat is stored as fat in our body.
Finally Uppar Yamuna River Board represented by Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, UP, Himachal and Uttaranchal organized to ensure equitable distribution of Yamuna waters doesn't provide any information about water releases at 2-3 important regulatory sites.
Embankments chief cause of Kosi misery, says report
13 Sep 2008, 0225 hrs IST,TNN
NEW DELHI: A report prepared by a civil society-based fact-finding team on the flooding in north Bihar has asserted that the embankments along the Kosi river have been the chief cause of misery.
The team led by flood expert Dinesh Mishra and others has recommended that the embankments should be demolished carefully to ensure that the region does not suffer further.
"There is a precedence of embankment demolition in India. The embankments created along a length of 32km on river Damodar in 1854 were demolished in 1869 when the British realised that far from controlling floods, the embankments were submerging fertile land," said Sudhirendar Sharma, co-author of the report, which is titled "Kosi Deluge: The Worst is Still to Come".
The authors have also pointed out that the Dutch government too had preferred to let rivers Rhine and Meuse be managed as flood plains instead of locking them with embankments after the latter had failed to control floods.
The team, in its report points out, that the work on embankments on the Bagmati river and tributaries of the Mahananda had already begun despite the Kosi havoc.
The authors noted that the embankments had, instead of managing floods, resulted in increasing the flood prone area in the state from 2.5 million hectares in 1950s to as high as 6.8 million hectares now.
Reiterating a point that civil society groups have been making since the disaster struck, the report warns that the proposed dam on Kosi in Nepal could not be passed off as a flood control measure as its sole purpose was to generate power.
It pointed that the jacketing of Kosi had prevented its annual estimated silt load of 92.5 million cubic metres from spreading and improving soil fertility in the basin. Conversely, the deposition of silt has contributed to increasing the riverbed by as much as four metres. As a result, the adjoining drainage had been obstructed causing water logging over an area of 8,360 sq kilometres or 16% of the total area in North Bihar.
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