February 11, 2012
The bridge over the river Kosi which was inaugurated today by C.P. Joshi, the central road transport and highways minster, and Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, threatens the local resident with destruction instead of offering development.The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) protests this bridge which has been built by ignoring many recommendations and whose construction has resulted in environmental degradation, displacement and danger to the local population. We also denounce efforts of the Bihar government to suppress protests by issuing notices to hundreds of local residents under article 107 of the Civil Procedure Code.
It should be noted that the government has constructed a 1885 meter long bridge and 9 km afflux dam to contain the wide flow of this river which is known as the Sorrow of Bihar. While the state government’s Water Resource Division had taken a decision in 2003 that the bridge would be constructed only under the condition of no objections, on which basis the Central Water and Power Research Station located in Pune, had estimated that the bridge should be 10300 meters long. As regards the bridge’s current design, the Bihar government’s own committee headed by Gokul Prasad had commented that this bridge is like a noose around the neck of the local population- that its construction would put pressure on the embankments and the danger of destruction would be ever-present.
Around 20 thousand families from 64 villages in 11 Panchayats up and down-stream from the bridge are being displaced but the government has not responded to their protests.
Vijay Kumar, Ranjiv SIngh, Mahendra Yadav, Ashish Ranjan and Kamyani Swami
(Translated from Hindi by Amit Basole)