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Indian firm to repair Kosi barrage in Nepal

Indian firm to repair Kosi barrage in Nepal

Indian wagon-maker Jessop and Company Ltd will undertake the project.

Kathmandu: Indian wagon-maker Jessop and Company Ltd will be asked to undertake an unusual project in Nepal: repair the nearly five-decade old barrage on the Kosi river that has been flooding southern Nepal and India's Bihar state with chilling regularity.

With the advent of monsoon in Nepal and the volume of water rising in the Kosi, one of the sluice gates in the Kosi barrage was damaged badly last week.

The government of Bihar, which has the responsibility of maintaining the barrage and its accompanying structures, sent a team to Nepal's Sunsari district to inspect the damaged gate.

However, the head of the team, Bihar's chief mechanical engineer K.N. Lal, said that the repair can be done only by the company that originally built the barrage.

The Kosi barrage was built in 1962 by the Kolkata-based Jessop, which set up shop in 1788 and following India's becoming independent, eventually became a state subsidiary.

Lal estimated that about Rs.150 million would be needed to repair the damaged gate.

Lal said the Bihar government would write to Jessop, asking them to rush a team to Sunsari.

Besides the damaged gate, the Indian company would also be asked to renovate the remaining 55 gates of the barrage.

Last year, the embankment of the Kosi collapsed under heavy rains, causing devastating floods in Sunsari and Bihar.

Over 1,000 people were killed and more than three million became homeless.

In Nepal, the damage to infrastructure caused by the Kosi is yet to be fully repaired.
first published:July 08, 2009, 19:50 IST