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Floodwaters with sewage inundate Tikapur

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Tikapur, July 21, 2016: Prakash Shah of Tikapur town has seen flood inundating his town number of times. But except for the massive flood of 1985, some of the houses in Tikapur would still be spared by the flood. Shah’s house was one of these lucky houses usually. However, incessant rain on Tuesday night flooded his house too that had a good amount sewage mixed into it.

“I had never seen flood damages to this extent in many years. It was only in 1985 that massive rainfall had badly affected the entire Tikapur town. This time, it is not only the nature’s fury, but also human’s inefficiency in averting such floods, that incurred the town such losses,” he remarked.

By human’s inefficiency, Shah was referring to the lack of preparedness shown by the locals in preparing and fixing the town’s drainage system. Block number 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14, among other blocks were submerged in water on Wednesday. Most of the houses in Tikapur market were also inundated by flood. None of the house in the town was left dry.

“The flood entered at the day time. Or else, we would see loss of human lives as well,” said Shah. “But many have lost their belongings and this definitely has hampered their day to day life,” he added.

Shah’s house and its surrounding are submerged in one meter deep water. He stated that the earlier flood of 1985 was equally disturbing. “Till today, it was the biggest flood we have ever seen and we never expected to face such floods. But today we had to face it and it’s because of concerned authorities’ and local residents’ negligence,” he remarked.

Several shops were inundated
Several shops were inundated

Locals said that they were shocked to realize that they were part of planned town which lacked a prerequisite like drainage system. Proper drainage system was one of the most important features of the town publicized by the town development authority. The municipality was believed to have been working along that line. “However, we have now seen that the concerned authority was not working up to the mark,” Shah said.

Responding to these accusations, municipality officials shifted the blame on budget crunch. According to Navaraj Joshi, engineer with the municipality, the income of the municipality was not enough to set up the drainage system. “It was not possible to fix drainage system with the budget the municipality has. We haven’t received support or donations for addressing this requirement and without it, we have been unable to work on the drainage system properly,” Joshi said.

Prior to this, the then Tikapur Development Committee had fixed few sewage pipes as part of its efforts to improve the drainage system. These pipes, however, are no more in use.

Another local Gokarna Prasad Rimal suggested that proper sewage system should be the priority of the municipality in the coming days. He stated that the locals in Tikapur would otherwise be forcefully displaced during every monsoon. “And when it’s not only the water from the sky but also the sewage that gets inside your house, streets, you can imagine how filthy and unhealthy it gets around,” he lamented. “And on top of that, if the Karnali River swells, what would happen to us? We should think about it beforehand,” he added.

There were few projects under the master plan prepared by the Tikapur Development Committee to address such concerns. However, the committee was dissolved and replaced by the Tikapur Development Forum. This body was supposed to implement all the plans that the committee had formulated. President of the forum Nawaraj Rawal stated that the forum has been advocating for the changes in Tikapur town. “Tikapur is actually a planned town. There are many areas of developments you can see here, which are appreciable. If only we could get ahead with the projects that are included in the master plan envisioned by the development committee, things will be right,” he said. Rawal stressed that proper sewage or drainage system is indeed the need of the time.

“It is quite a matter of shame that the entire town has been badly stinking due to the sewage mixed flood. We wanted to make it an exemplary town and you see, we are facing this,” said Rawal. “Now we got to make separate master plan just for the management of sewage and implement it as soon as possible to avert such incidences in the days ahead,” he added.

According to Rawal, there are multiple problems in the town but the lack of proper sewage system is the worst it is facing. Meanwhile, Ananda Hamal, president of FNCCI, Tikapur stated that the sewage issue is not new but that the concerned authorities did not give due attention to several calls made by the locals for addressing it. “This was a very serious issue and today it has blown out of proportion. Yet, I feel that its enormity has not been realized by concerned authorities.”

Mitramani Pokhrel, acting chief of Tikapur municipality stated that he had inspected areas affected by the floods and informed that the area is been badly hit and was in acute need of a proper sewage system. Though Pokhrel did not say how the funds can be arranged for addressing the issue, Shah opined that Tikapur can bail itself out of the problem only if any external body comes forward with funding to bail the town out. “Or else, we have to go homeless every time it rains or flood enters here,” he said.

By Yogesh Rawal