SAPTARI, Oct 6: Transport service has come to a grinding halt along the Rajbiraj-Kunauli road, which has been completely under water since the last two days after an Indian embankment on Nepal-India border blocked the Khando River from flowing southward.
The locals say the road has been inundated as the embankment built in Dashgaja area -- No Man´s Land -- by the Indian government six months ago blocked the river.
With the Tilathi-Rampur Malhaniya section of the Janakpur-Kunauli road submerged, some villages in the southern belt of Saptari district have been virtually cut off from the district headquarters. The locals of Tilathi, Rampur Malhaniya, Dalawa, Belhi and Sakarpura are unable to come to Rajbiraj. "We can´t go to the district headquarters," said Mishri Lal Mukhiya, a local resident of Sakarpura VDC. "No vehicles are there on the road."
The locals have been forced to wade through water along the motor road. According to Tilathi-based Armed Police Force (APF) inspector Mahendra Hamal, a bridge in Tilathi VDC has also been covered with sand brought by the flood of Khando River. "Normal life has been badly affected," he said.
"The Indian government has tampered with the natural flow of the river to protect its lands from getting inundated," said Dev Narayan Yadav, a resident of Tilathi VDC-5, adding, "If the Khando river is not allowed to flow in its natural course, many settlements in this area will be in danger."
The locals say the flood in the Khando River, which swelled following rains in the mountains, has also devastated their crops and damaged fertile lands.
According to Dineshwar Mishra, former Tilathi VDC chairman, the locals had already anticipated the possible dangers of the embankment in Dashgaja area.
"We had protested against the construction of the embankment while it was being constructed," said Mishara. "After we protested, government officials from Nepal and India visited our village and promised to not construct the embankment until a new consensus is reached. But, India completed the construction of the embankment overnight in spite of our stiff opposition."
The Indian people say they had no other option but to build the embankment to protect their lands. "Two years ago, the Khando River changed its course into our village and damaged a vast area of fertile land," said Wasim Ahmad, Kunauli Gram Panchayat Mukhiya of India. "Therefore, we exerted pressure on our government to build the embankment. We don´t intend to hurt the Nepali people."