| Though the water-level receded, residents of flood-hit villages sail to safer destinations. Telegraph picture |
Gopalganj, Sept. 22: Apprehension of a catastrophe resulting from swelling Gandak has taken a backseat as the river mellowed down drastically today.
The water level of Gandak was reported at 1.56 lakh cusecs (much lower the danger mark), and the flow of water through the breached embankment here was below 10,000 cusecs today. This has brought in good news for officials involved in relief works and also for the villagers stuck in floodwater.
“The situation is quite normal as water level is receding from the area slowly. About 6,682 food packets have been distributed among the flood-affected people in Gopalganj district,” disaster management department officer on special duty Gagan said while talking to The Telegraph today.
Most of the people collected food packets and returned to their home as they did not want to leave their native place. Gagan added that people also fear that once their names were put up in flood-affected people’s list they would be deprived of drought-relief fund, as majority of the area was drought hit.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) chart, as on September 22, put the figure of rain deficit for Gopalganj at 12 per cent. The district has received 796.2 mm rainfall against the normal rainfall of 903.6mm.
So far, only Barauli and Sidhwalia blocks were badly affected by the flood but today water was seen entering lands located at a lower level in Saran district. However, officials believe there is not even a slightest chance that floodwater would inundate all villages of Saran and Siwan districts after the river mellowed down today.
Meanwhile, plying of small vehicles on national highway 28 resumed today and the district administration plunged into relief works that were stalled due to the flood.
Gopalganj district magistrate Balamurugan D told The Telegraph that water level of Gandak has gone down considerably and it is likely to go down further. He said that at Batraha, works to plug the breach is being done on war footing.
“Relief work is being carried out in the district in full swing and the flood-affected people are given Rs 2,250 and one quintal of grain also,” the district magistrate said. Both Balamurugan and superintendent of police K.S. Anupam are personally monitoring the relief works.
However, according to sources, so far only 498 people have been provided with relief materials and money.
More than 6,000 families have been identified as flood victims and the identification work is still going on. The flood has affected about 70,000 people and crop worth Rs 1 crore have already been damaged.
However, for the cane growers, there is some reason to cheer. As the water level is receding, they are expecting bumper yield this season.
One of the farmers said that they would be able to grow another crop, as the floodwater will go down to lower areas in some blocks of Saran district and depo- sit there.