Patna, India : The worst floods in the last five decades set the development clock backward in Bihar which had little to cheer about this year as the state convulsed in a violent backlash to Raj Thackeray-led MNS’ agitation against north Indians in Maharashtra amid political bickering.
The Kosi, often dubbed as Bihar’s river of sorrow before being tamed in the 1950s by hundreds of kilometers of dams and barrages, broke free and smashed through its eastern embankment at Kusaha village in Nepal in August.
The frenzied river hurtled down the gradient to Bihar plains picking up a course it had abandoned a century ago hungrily swallowing whatever lay in its path and destroying human habitations and killing nearly 300 people.
The disaster drew a quick response from both the state and Central Government with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declaring it a national calamity after an aerial survey on August 28 along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
As Singh announced Rs 1000-crore financial assistance and 1.25 lakh tonnes of food-grains, putting a rare show of Union Ministers Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan pledged full support to arch- rival Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to tackle the crisis. (One Crore: ten million)
However, the bonhomie proved short-lived and knives were out with Union Minister of State for Water Resources Jaiprakash Narain Yadav accusing the state government of not acting swiftly on his ministry’s advise to carry out repairs on the embankment that breached.