Inspirations: Dinesh Mishra, 63

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Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

Flood Control Campaigner

More than half of India’s flood-affected people live in Bihar, especially the northern part of the state, into which drain some of the world’s most tempestuous rivers from the Himalayas. What most people don’t know, however, is that the flood-prone area in Bihar has tripled since flood-control measures started in the 1950s. If you want to understand why, you need to meet Dinesh Kumar Mishra, a structural engineer trained at IIT, Kharagpur. His life changed in 1984 when a friend asked him to prepare a report on floods. “Flood control efforts like embankments have ruined natural drainage, so now there is year-long water-logging,” says Mishra. He gave up his engineering practice and has worked tirelessly for almost three decades travelling, studying and writing on floods. But there have been virtually no real results, because nobody wants to address this problem — flood control produces crores in bribes every year. “Sometimes I feel I have wasted my life,” says Mishra. “But then I know that I have prepared the groundwork for those who want to find a real solution. They won’t be able to say that nobody before us bothered.”

‘I’ve prepared the groundwork for those who want to find a solution’

MISHRA MAY BE REACHED AT +91 94313 03360

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