Client / Financial Support:Winrock International/Ford Foundation Duration: 36 mins
Large parts of eastern India are subject to annual flooding. Over the last 50 years the government has built 14,000 kms of embankments in an attempt to tame the rivers of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Orissa. Despite the massive expenditure losses to flooding and the area that is now vulnerable to flooding has only increased. 16% of Bihar is permanently water logged, a direct consequence of the construction of embankments.
River Taming Mantras explores the technological economic and political rationale that underlies the adoption of such flood control measures. The film demonstrates that because these rivers carry enormous silt load they have enormous power. Attempts to control these rivers are unlikely to succeed. On the other hand the vast sums of money spent on building and maintainence of these embankments provides endless opportunities for the siphoning of funds. Flood relief is a milk cow no one wants to see go dry!