After Long dry Spell, Fear of Flood Looms Over Bihar
Credit -Koshi Nav Nirman Manch
Patna: After a long dry spell in June-July that resulted in 34% deficient rainfall in Bihar, now fear of floods looms over the northern part of the state following heavy rains in the catchment area of major rivers in neighbouring Nepal in the last few days.
Major rivers like Koshi, Bagmati, Gandak, Ganga, Burhi Gandak, Mahananda and Kamla Balan are in spate. The Nitish Kumar government has sounded an alert and appealed to people living in low-lying areas near rivers to shift to elevated places.
The heavy rainfall has caused the sudden rise in water levels, resulting in a flood-like situation in some pockets in Supaul, Saharsa, Bagaha (West Champaran), Purnea, Araria, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj and Katihar districts.
In a record discharge this year, the Water Resources Department (WRD) was forced to release 2.41 lakh cusecs from the Koshi barrage into river Koshi and 3.15 from Valmiki Gandak barrage into river Gandak on Tuesday. More than 35 of the 56 sluice gates of Koshi barrage, at Birpur (Nepal) were opened after the water level rose to an alarming level. This barrage is managed and maintained by Bihar’s WRD.
Credit -- Koshi Nav Nirman Manch
According to WRD officials, water discharge from the barrage has been increasing and decreasing in the past 24 hours depending on rains in catchment areas. On Wednesday morning, 2.21 lakh cusecs were discharged.
Similarly, all the 36 gates of the Valmiki Ganda barrage were also opened. In both Koshi and Gandak, the water level is likely to increase in the coming days in view of heavy rainfall.
“Field officials have been directed to keep a close watch on water level and the barrages. There is a rising trend of water,” Shailendar, the chief engineer of flood control and water drainage at WRD, told reporters in Patna on Wednesday.
According to reports, floodwater entered hundreds of villages and spread to new areas in the flood-affected districts in the past 24 hours. In several places, floodwater submerged vast low-lying areas and several roads and national highways were flooded up to two to three feet.
The state government has issued a high alert in more than half-a-dozen districts and asked district officials to be ready to face any eventuality.
The fear of floods has forced hundreds to flee their homes and shift to higher places since Tuesday and more people are likely to be displaced as floodwater inundates one village after another.
Credit -- Koshi Nav Nirman Manch
Kumar has reportedly instructed the state disaster management department to be on high alert as the India Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rainfall across Bihar for the next 24 hours.
State water resources development minister Sanjay Jha told Newsclick that all embankments are safe and there is no need to panic. “Our officials are taking measures to protect all embankments to minimise the chances of any breach.”
Mahendar Yadav of Koshi Navnirman Manch said that thousands of poor people living within Koshi embankments in Supaul are fearing floods after water entered their villages. “The Manch has demanded that the district magistrate declare villages within Koshi embankments as flood affected and start relief and rescue operations soon.”
Yadav added houses, school buildings, temples and mosques at several places in Koshi and Seemanchal regions are already being eroded due to the rising water levels.
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