| Villagers being taken away to safety in Saharsa’s Nauhatta block on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Anand |
Indian Railways is making concerted efforts to fight erosion at the Fango Halt on the Saharsa-Mansi section in Samastipur division.
The section under East Central Railway runs parallel to the Kosi and has come under direct threat of the river’s current. Although the river has not reached its danger mark, 1m by the Fango Halt, around 15km southwest of the Saharsa railway station, has been eroded in the past two days.
This has prompted railway officials to maintain strict monitoring of anti-erosion work on the section. It is important to curb the erosion by the tracks as the railways are the region’s lifeline. There are no proper roads connecting Saharsa in the Kosi region with and Patna. From the Saharsa railway station alone, at least six trains start for different destinations with 10,000-12,000 passengers daily.
Rukmini Devi, a Kopardia resident, said: “We do not know if the Kosi would flood our villages or not but are scared that it might disrupt railway movement.”
Around 60 lakh people in the entire Kosi region depend on the railways daily, even when it is perilous.
Last year on August 19, at least 28 Shravan devotees came under the wheels of the Rajya Rani Express at Dhamara Ghat, around 30km southwest of Saharsa railway station. The victims had come to Dhamara Ghat — also on the Saharsa-Mansi section — in two passenger trains. As the station had just one platform, one of the groups had to alight on the offside, the second track, through which the Rajya Rani Express was to pass.
So, anti-erosion work started at Fango Halt in 2011 is now being strengthened.
In the past two days, Kosi’s level has gone up by about 15cm near the Fango halt, about 210km northeast of Patna. The current has corroded away a metre between the river and the railway tracks.
Deputy chief engineer of Eastern Central Railway construction department Alok Jha, who is monitoring the situation at Fango, told The Telegraph: “We do not feel any threat if an usual volume of water is discharged (from Nepal). We have already placed the launching apron in an 8.8km area that will settle if the water current cuts away land along the riverbank.”
The work involves pitching boulders next to the railway tracks, fixing them with iron wires so that it stays in place.