This is the third and last post of motorcycling along the Kosi River in Bihar under the Anaadi River Project. Here is the link of first and second post if you haven’t read them..
29 November 2017, Wednesday
Left Saharsa town early in the morning. Passed through several villages before I could set my eyes on Kosi river again.
Here was the route for the day
Saharsa → Dumri Ghat → Kursela → Begusarai
While riding I found something wrong with the gear. Realised that the clutch cable was broken and for a while, I have been foolishly hitting the gear peddle so hard. Stopped at a mechanic and got it replaced for Rs. 140.
Saharsa has lots of beautiful Lakes
My trail passed through beautiful lakes and villages. This was one of the best scenic plains I have ever been.
Also read: Motorcycling the plains of Punjab.
I experienced the highest density of lakes and rivers while riding through this hinterland. One particular lake was so beautiful that it compelled to stop and stare. Its green water reflected series of trees lined up on the edges.
Riding ahead I reached the most anticipated place of my journey ie. the Dumri ghat. This place is unique and special. And the reason for its uniqueness is two broken bridges over the Kosi river.
I reached Dumri ghat around 10 AM. One could witness the vast expanse of Kosi river here.
Just as I had read, washed off Concrete and Steel bridge was standing in the river. Construction work was going on of the concrete bridge.
We, humans, try to tame nature and no matter how hard we try but nature restores its balance.
I know you must be thinking building bridges isn’t wrong. But adamantly changing the natural course of the river is wrong. And this is what happened when the course of Kamla river which meets Kosi at Dumri was altered without a sound understanding of the impact.
How can people be so foolish?
I moved closer to the river. It was chaos all around. Boats were plying up and down the river. Government boats have red flag on them.
Private boats were without red flag and charged money to transport people, bikes and cars across the Kosi river.
I chose the government one as the waiting time was less. My boat seemed quite old. Bamboos were tucked together to make the floor of the boat.
Vehicles were pushed up the boat using a wooden plank.
Sand on the bank was dark grey in color. Chunks and pieces of sand now and then were getting washed away in the river due to the river current.
Boats in the river and vehicle standing on the sand had to constantly adjust this widening of the river.
Just when my boat was about to leave the bank, 6-7 women hurriedly rushed towards the boat. We all were shouting to stop. One lady had a newborn baby with her.
Few ladies jumped on the boat. And one with the baby stopped at the very last instance.
If she had moved a single step ahead, she would have drowned in the river along with her child.
I was standing with my jaws wide open. A wave of anger ran through me. How can be someone so foolish?
“Sometimes it is not the government to blame but the foolishness of the people. And this was certainly that time“
Old boats and rogue sailors
Our boat went a little downstream. God knows what happened another boat came straight toward us.
Both the boatmen were shouting at each other while the boat approached for collision.
I gripped the camera bag and bike firmly ready to be in the water. People started shouting at the obese boat captain to keep their fight aside and take us to the other side.
In the end, both of boatmen steered hard. It was late but loosened the collision.
Both the boat brushed each other and we felt a firm impact which moved the boat away from its original path.
There could have been another news for tomorrow that 50 people drowned in Kosi river near Dumri ghat and this would have been due to the foolishness of the boat driver 🙂
Moving towards Kursela – where Kosi meets Ganga
After crossing the Kosi river I came on the four-lane highway which goes towards Bhagalpur. I rushed a bit to keep up with the time.
Crossed Naugachia and soon reached the road bridge of Kursela which goes over the Kosi river.
Rode over the bridge to have a look at the Kosi river from every direction.
Later, returned and rode below the bridge towards the river water.
It was all loose and damp sand down there. I had to struggle to fill my small bottle with the water of Kosi river.
Some 500 meters from this place Kosi meets the Ganga. With this, my ride of Kori river ended.
I rode from the Kosi barrage in Bhimnagar and rode through Supaul, Saharsa till Kursela in Bhagalpur district.
I learned about the floods of Kosi river and politics of not solving the issue
This ride was very memorable for me and presented learnings from many dimensions.
My sentiments towards the people living along the banks of Kosi river and those affected by her deadly floods increased exponentially.
We the city people get panicked even when the bathroom chokes and dirty water starts popping out. I can imagine how these people feel when their entire home and village gets drowned under floodwater and they get little or no help from the government.
If I had to say that is there anything the authority can do, I will say there is everything that they can do but all they have been doing is they have made the floods of Kosi river a political issue.
And in today’s world there can’t be politics if problems are these are solved.
Journey back to Patna
Kursela to Patna is about 270 Km. Roads under construction slowed me considerably.
After riding for 3 hours in the dark I gave up and kept the rest of 130 km for tomorrow’s light.
For today’s night, I took shelter in Begusarai, a comparatively modern town with hotels and food joints.
I searched for around an hour for good and affordable stay. Finally ended up in Hotel Mamta near GD College for Rs. 500/night.
It was a damn cold December night but I had a peaceful sleep with content heart 🙂