May be you guys are asking, why this is want to know where is the land of Bagmati River? Bagmati river is there and the water is flowing over it. Do you think what is seeing now is only the part of the river?
I live in Kopundole near the Bagmati river bridge. I have been seeing this river since childhood and I have an emotional attachment with this river. We used to go there to play swimming may be 20 years back. It was clean till that time, but look at the face of the river after 20 years. It is a holy river for all the Hindus as it flows by the Pashupati Nath Temple. If you show the condition of the river to some tourist, I am sure they will ask you, “Do you call this river a holy river”.
Any way the thing I want to talk today is not about how clean is river or why we call is Holy River or should we stop calling Holy River. This river has been attacked by ever one.
Firstly it was attacked by the municipality by dumping all the waste product to this holy river and making it look worst. Now the recent attack I have seen is by the so called homeless people. The river banks have been captured by them. They have been living there with tents, but now I see some solid house. I heard once that government used police force to drive them away and they were gone for some time, but now they have again seized the Bagmati banks. They are cultivating vegetables, build school with bricks house and the government is not taking any action.
The issue is not just that the river banks are captures, but by such act we are inviting another big natural disaster in that area. Hope everyone of are aware of what our grandparents used to say us when we were children,” Never play with Fire and Water, they are too dangerous and act fearfully in certain occasions”.
The recent disaster we saw from water was the Koshi flood, and the whole nation is still facing the problem brought by that. Land transportation is totally closed, we need ferry to cross the river, due to that flood many electric poles are out of use, and the electricity Nepal buy from India is not supplied to Nepal and we are forced to face 10 hours load shedding right now. You can no longer get the right dual fuel for you or your area.
We see less water in this river now, so may be they have thought it is a good place to live. But who knows about Nature. When will these rivers get fearful? We don’t know. I remember may be 6 years ago there was a big flood in Bagmati. What will happen to these people when such flood once again comes in this river with out giving any hint to them at night while they are sleeping? How many people will loose their life? These people also should think of their life. May be they have their own problem, why would people risk their life and stay live with such condition.
Now we are quiet, I have not heard any one raising how to displace these people from river bank and save the river banks from unauthorized capture. In future if something bad happen to these people by natural disaster then everyone will shout at the government why they did not take safety measure in past. They will blame the government on the loss of life of these people.
We need to preserve the river banks of Bagmati; we need to work on how to conserve the river. How to make is clean. There has been some awareness programme to save Bagmati, every year one organization do rafting in Bagmati to aware people to save Bagmati.
United Nations with Nepal Government have created parks so that river banks also get safe, people get place to visit for relax, or morning walks. We can see green tress there which is really important of concrete cities like Kathmandu where it is hard to find open place now. But my second thought says, is it right to capture the Bagmati land and make it Park? What you guys think in this issue? Don’t you think that rive needs it’s space to flow, they can act fearful anytime.
In recent years, the government has made a road on the banks of the river to reduce the traffic in main roads and make this road as an alternative and short cuts. It is good for us as we have many options to use the road and choose from where we can reach fast to our destination. Hope while making this roads, they have studied the effects of the road on the river. Hope that in future any big flood will not take the roads away.
Every time when I see this river, its banks I just feel sorry for myself. Every time I see that the river width is getting short and the land is increasing and people are capturing them.
We need to act now to save our holy river, we need to raise our voice and make the government hear about is and take the necessary action on these people who are living in river banks. They should take action on people who have illegally capture the river’s land. We need to act now to not to be the eyewitness of another natural disaster in Bagmati.
I wish i can see lots of water in this river once again, let’s make it our pride like the Thames River in London.
All Pictures are © sangesh.com.np