August 15, 2017 5:07:14 am
Nearly 67 lakh people in Assam and Bihar, and thousands more in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have been affected by floods caused by rainfall over the last on week. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath surveyed affected areas Monday.
A first wave of floods had left nearly 90 dead and damaged infrastructure worth over Rs 2,000 crore when the second wave struck, affecting over 32 lakh people in 25 districts. The Brahmaputra and most of its tributaries are flowing above the danger mark, with crops damaged over 1.79 lakh hectares.
“The situation is very critical,” said Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, whose own village in Kaliabor is waist-deep in water. While incessant rain across the Northeast and Bhutan has been the major cause of rivers overflowing, poor maintenance of ageing embankments is another reason. The Brahmaputra alone has caused at least 10 major breaches this year, while several of its tributaries have caused dozens of breaches.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Guwahati on August 1, had announced Rs 100 crore for a study to find out the reasons behind the annual problem and suggest long-term measures. He had announced a Rs 2,000-crore package for rehabilitation and repair in the Northeastern states. Assam’s share of Rs 1,200 crore would be spent on infrastructure alone. A sum of Rs 400 crore would be provided to improve water-holding capacity of the Brahmaputra, the PM had announced.
An estimated 35 lakh people in 12 districts have been affected by floods caused by rains and discharge of water from Nepal, the worst hit being the Seemanchal districts of Kishanganj, Araria, Purnea and Katihar, besides Supaul, Madhepira, East Champaran, West Champaran, Madhubani, Sitamarhi. The disaster management department has confirmed at least a dozen deaths, including seven in Gaunaha of West Champaran. The Army and IAF have joined relief and rescue operations in Kishanganj and Araria. Trains from Kishanganj and Araria have been cancelled while highways zare submerged at several points.
After an aerial survey, Nitish said NDRF and SDRF teams have been pressed into action and helicopters deployed. “Flash floods have entered villages and will take sometime to recede. The Centre immediately responded after I spoke to the PM and the Union home and defence ministers. The Centre sent four NDRF teams Sunday and more teams are joining today.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: “The Centre is rushing additional NDRF teams to Bihar to help the ongoing rescue &relief operations in the flood affected region of the state”.
At Baisi block of Purnea, Araria block of Araria, Kishanganj and Bahadurgarh blocks of Kishanganj, people have taken shelter in roads and in school buildings. Principal secretary (disaster management) Pratyaya Amrit said Army men have been sent out from Bihar Regimental Centre, Danapur. District magistrates and ministers in charge of districts concerned have been asked to monitor the situation. Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said 60 relief camps have been set at Kishanganj, out of 150 in Seemanchal.
Over 650 villages in 18 districts have been affected — 5 in Terai region, 2 in the west, 4 in central UP, 7 in eastern UP — with 19 deaths until Sunday, according to reports prepared by the office of the relief commissioner. Six rivers — Sharda, Ghaghra, Rapti, Budhi Rapti, Rohni and Gandak — are flowing above the danger marks at 10 places, according to the irrigation department’s flood report Monday. Teams of NDRF and state’s Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed.
Large areas in of South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur and Malda have been inundated. Train services between South and North Bengal have been disrupted; road connectivity too has been affected on NH-34 and NH-31, with thousands stranded in North Bengal. CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “We are concerned about the flood situation across the country. Earlier floods had affected south Bengal. Now north Bengal also affected.
We are monitoring the situation 24X7 for relief and rescue operations.” Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee told The Indian Express that the administration is making all possible arrangements for relief and rescue.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.