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Bhutan alert on dam burst

July 10: Floods in Assam have taken a turn for the worse with Bhutan warning India of a dam breach in that country this evening, which is likely to affect Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts.

The flood warning section at Audsho in Bhutan informed the Central Water Commission (CWC) that the Kurichhu dam on Tsatitsu lake burst at 5.20 pm and that the water was likely to merge into the Manas and Beki rivers. CWC officials said the rivers were already flowing above the danger level.

The district administrations of Barpeta and Bongaigaon have asked the army to be on standby.

Assam is already reeling under the second wave of floods, which has officially claimed eight lives, affected over two million people and destroyed crops in two lakh hectares of land in 18 districts over the past two days.

Dispur said water level of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, barring the Desang and Pagladiya, was rising from Dibrugarh to Dhubri districts. The Brahmaputra has crossed the danger mark in Guwahati by 0.14 m and the district administration has warned of floods if there is no change in situation.

Road links to Lower Assam have been disrupted because floodwaters have overrun National Highway 31. A bridge on the highway at Karaibari in Kokrajhar district was washed away this morning. At Kampur in Nagaon district, the Kopili river damaged two major dykes at Garukhunda and Bhakatgaon today. According to unconfirmed reports, four persons, including an army jawan, lost their lives today.

Assam Lok Sabha MP Sarbananda Sonowal has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and water resources minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi to visit the affected districts and make a greater allocation for flood control and erosion.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had to cancel his tour to Mangaldoi, Nalbari, Barpeta and Kamrup today because of inclement weather.

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