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Panel submits Kosi report

A commission of inquiry, constituted to probe the breach in embankment at Kusaha in the Kosi region in August 2008, submitted its report to the state government on Monday.

Kosi Inquiry Commission, headed by Justice (Rtd) Rajesh Balia, submitted a voluminous report to chief secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha in Patna.

“I have submitted my report to the government. I will not answer anything beyond this,” Justice Balia, a former Chief Justice of Patna High Court, told reporters.

Accepting the report, the chief secretary said: “I have received it. We will study it first and suitable action would be taken.”

Home department principal secretary Amir Shubhani said: “The commission has submitted its reports in two big bags. The government would take action.” He, however, refused to give any specific time as to when the report would be made public or when the action, if needed, would be taken against the responsible people. Shubhani feigned ignorance about the expenditure incurred on the inquiry commission in the past five-and-a-half years.

Background

The commission, which was set up in September 2008, got nine extensions of six months to complete the probe. The term of the commission was coming to an end on March 31, 2014. The commission was, initially, supposed to submit its report within six months.

The Kusaha embankment near the India-Nepal border on the Kosi river got breached on August 18, 2008, leading to a deluge which left more than three million people in Purnea, Araria, Supaul, Saharsa and Madhepura homeless. Massive destruction took place that killed 540 people and destroyed thousands of houses, damaged standing crops spread over several lakh acres.

Reasons for delay

Asked about the reasons for delay in submitting the report to the government, Patna High Court senior advocate Y.V. Giri, who was the lawyer for the commission, said the panel had to do a lot of ground work and had to study remedial measures to avert such a crisis in future.

“If you go by the terms of reference of the commission, apart from finding the reasons for breach in the embankment, the commission’s thrust was to suggest remedial measures so that such incidents may not recur in future. Out of the six terms of reference, three spoke about the remedial measures to prevent such incidents in future,” Giri said.

Sources said in view of the ongoing campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, the report would not be made public anytime soon.


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