Human intervention locked-in the Kosi, but the river kept bringing soil, sand and pebbles, adding to the level of the riverbed. The governments of India and Nepal agreed to Further, the Kosi was not even in spate at the time, its flow at 60% of what is normal for that time in August. (2,337 sq mi) in eastern Nepal; Arun River with an area of 33,500 km2 16 km (9.9 mi), to serve as a silt trap. such as Bhutahi Balān. heavy silt it carries during the monsoon season and flooding in India has Gorge include from east to west: Tamur River with an area of 6,053 km2 years. There was no question of the river finding its way back to its ‘designated channel’ because the embankment came in the way, and in any case the water would have to ride up a ledge to gain the Kosi riverbed. spread out very widely. From a major confluence of tributaries north of Kosi 5. detailed project report of Sapta Koshi High Dam Multipurpose Project Up to 60% of the money charged to strengthen embankments is said to go into lining the pockets up and down the Bihari politico-bureaucratic hierarchy. (110 mi) long and 150 km (93 mi) wide. The Kosi alluvial fan is one of the largest in 95 m (312 ft) comprising the Tibetan plateau, the Himalayas, the Himalayan The Tons 6. both countries. 61,788 km2 (23,856 sq mi) in Nepal at the barrage site. It takes just a little imagination to consider what will happen when the river breaches the levee and is unleashed in full force into the floodplain during peak flood. The three major tributaries meet at Triveni, Dikhow 5. substantial flood cushion along with large irrigation and power benefits to navigation. A good part of this goes to repair work on the Kosi. Ong 7. and Sun Kosi Storage-cum-Diversion Scheme to meet the objectives of The two barrages (on the Gandak and Kosi, not meant to hold water) are close to the border and manned by the Indian authorities. Canal, at a canal drop (3.6 km (2.2 mi) from the Koshi Barrage), to generate Seemingly in exasperation, Kosi Mata sent a strong message with the east embankment breach of August 18, 2008, 12 km north of the barrage. Kosi 5. Besides, the policymakers were bedazzled with the idea of “taming wrathful rivers” and neglectful of the historians and social scientists who would have told them of the ability of communities to absorb high-water periods. Simsha 4. Manjira 3. Envisaged are a 269-meter (883 ft) high The Kosi, or Saptakosi, is the largest tributary of the Ganga. from where they are called Sapta Kosi meaning Seven Rivers. Actually, it is the embankments that need to be given that title, for having deprived the land of silt and having contributed to water-logging, displacement and disease. But the siltation in the Himalayan rivers is of a different magnitude, which the engineering tomes do not address. The Kosi's alluvial fan has fertile soil and Arkavati 5. Hindon, 1. The Eastern Chatra Canal and also water that may be required downstream for the Kanchenjunga area in the east, Arun River from Tibet and Sun Koshi from But the politics of populism and unaccountability is so intense, there is little appetite for the Indian authorities to plan for the people. The record flow of 24 200 m3/s is Ironically, the victimisation of the floodplain population was done not by the colonial administration but the representative system of governance right after Independence. Current slows and the sediment load settles out of the water and Below the Siwaliks, the river has built up a megafan some 15,000 km2 metre per second. The Sun Koshi's tributaries from east to The Kosi River catchment covers six geological and climatic belts varying in altitude from above 8,000 m (26,000 ft) to 95 m (312 ft) comprising the Tibetan plateau, the Himalayas, the Himalayan mid-hill belt, the Mahabharat Range, the Siwalik Hills and the Terai. This was followed by the Kosi Agreement between Nepal and Mej. Nepal has a total estimated potential of The economically exploitable When the devastating breach does happen, amidst the ensuing tragedy and public anger, the Saptakosi High Dam will suddenly become the one-point agenda backed by the might of the Indian state. Sindh 3. This is a wildly expensive scheme meant to transfer water from surplus areas of the subcontinent to water-deficient areas. Meanwhile, the height of the riverbed would have risen by more than half a metre during this period, adding further to the disequilibrium of the Kosi. was built between 1959 and 1963 and straddles the Indo-Nepal border. This is how the largest tributary of the Ganga – and the largest flow to leave the Himalaya mountains between the Brahmaputra and the Indus – ended up where it is now, on its “super-elevated’’ bed. basin. is deposited on an immense alluvial fan that has grown to an area of about border. Yamuna 6. During The in north Bihar and to provide irrigation and power benefits to Nepal and The dam is on the In addition, they failed to consider the social injustice that is caused when technological fixes go wrong, leading to creation of “oustees”, large-scale marginalisation and impoverishment. small schemes and 18750 MW from major schemes. the Chatra Gorge onwards, the Koshi River is also known as Saptakoshi for and climatic belts varying in altitude from above 8,000 m (26,000 ft) to


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