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Bihar’s river of sorrow – at a glance


New Delhi : The Kosi, often known as the river of sorrow in Bihar, has once again lived up to its name as it floods vast swathes of Bihar with 2.5 million people affected and thousands feared killed. A factsheet:

* Kosi rises in the Nepal Himalayas, enters Bihar in Supaul (Saharsa district) and joins the Ganga near Kursaila in Katihar district after flowing for a total of 320 km.

* Kosi carries around 80 million tonnes of silt every year, a possible reason for the river changing course from time to time.

* Kosi has an average discharge of over 55,000 cusecs of water, which goes up sharply during the monsoon from July to September every year.

* Major districts in the Kosi river basin: Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnea, Khagaria, Katihar.

* Major floods due to Kosi: 1954, 1963, 1971, 1984, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 2008.

* April 25, 1954 – India’s acting prime minister Gulzari Lal Nanda and Nepal’s Bir Shumeshwar signed the first historic Kosi Treaty. In 1963, a barrage was built at Bhimnagar, nearly 13 km upstream of Hanuman Nagar in Nepal.

* Kosi is also called Sapta Kosi as the river has seven major tributaries in Nepal – Sun Kosi, Tama Kosi, Dudh Kosi, Indravati, Likhu, Arun and Tamar. It has around 125 small tributaries.