Kishanganj and Purnia districts of Bihar and West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur are reeling under heavy flood as incessant rains overnight led to overflowing of major rivers in the region. Water from the Mahananda river has overtopped the National Highway No 31 at many places triggering fears of more flood in other areas of the region. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Pankaj Dixit, District Magistrate of Kishanganj, said “All the villages are affected because of the flood. Teams from NDRF and SDRF are carrying out rescue and relief work.” The district has a population of 16 lakh as per the 2011 census.
Road and rail links have been severely affected. Traffic on the NH31 has come to a halt. The Kishanganj railway station is submerged under water and passengers are stranded at the station. Dixit said communication links with most of the villages have been snapped as water has overtopped or washed away many roads. “People are being moved to safer areas. We have set up relief camps,” he said.
Ramji Sah, Deputy Development Officer of Kishanganj, said, “The flood situation is grim. Water has entered into the city as well.” In the Pashim Pali area of Kishanganj, water has entered into homes forcing people to move to rooftops or other parts of the city. “Water has entered into our home, so we moved to our neighbour’s house across the road,” said Md Kausar Salam. Apart from being a residential area, Pashim Pali has many schools and a college.
Trucks on NH 31, the critical communication link which connects the Northeast from rest of the country, are piled up on the highway since yesterday. “We are stuck here (Kanki) for past many hours. There is no food and drinking water. I am travelling from Noida to Guwahati. Now I can’t reach my destination on time,” said Tinku, a truck driver from Etah in Uttar Pradesh.
People from Matiyari village near Kanki on NH 31 have taken shelter in Shree Jain Vidya Mandir school. “Around 200 people along with their livestock have taken shelter in the school. We are trying to organise rescue and relief work in coordination with the Block Development Officer,” said Md Ather Hussain of Kanki. Police station at Kanki is also under flood water, he said.
Wasiqur Rahman, a school teacher, said this year’s flood is worse than the previous year. “Many villages near the bank of Mahananda are completely out of bounds. Chilhani, Hafanya, Dulalganj and Pokharya are worst hit. Water has entered into these villages,” he said. A majority of the population in this region is involved in agriculture. Like last year which had seen massive flooding, farmers are staring at crop loss this year as well, Rahman said.