Corruption Makes 1M+ Homeless in India

29 08 2008

Today the guardian newspaper reports that “More than a million people have been forced from their homes and 250,000 houses destroyed in one of the worst floods in northern India for decades, prompting accusations that the destruction was man made.”

Experts said corruption in India was largely responsible for the disaster. The Kosi’s embankment is meant to handle almost 1m cubic feet of water per second, yet the river was breached at around a tenth of capacity, pointing to serious defects in the river system.

Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the independent South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People said there was an “unfortunate lobby consisting of politicians, bureaucrats, builders and engineers who take money and don’t do any work. There is no oversight of this process. That’s why we get flooding every year.”

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12 09 2008
Peter Bosshard

As Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2008 has shown, corruption undermines dam safety and safe water supply all around the world. In an interview with eKantipur.com, Dipak Gyawali, Nepal’s former water minister, explains in detail how corruption has helped create the flood disaster on the Kosi River. See http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/3303/ for a blog entry on this.

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