| A flood-affected family takes shelter in a damaged hut at Lezai Gojai village in Dibrugarh on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Kokrajhar, July 16: Water released from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan today flooded many districts in Lower Assam, including Chirang, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon.
Over 100 villages in the three districts were hit by the floods, which started around 8am.
Though the water began receding slowly after 1pm, many villages remained inundated, forcing many to take shelter on higher ground.
“When I woke up this morning, there was no water. Nor were there any signs of flood. But around 8am, the water started rising and before we could realise what was happening, the whole area was flooded,” a villager at Bodiaguri in Kokrajhar district said.
Areas like Bodiaguri, Sapkata, Banglajhora and Kagrabari, among others, in Kokrajhar district, Majrabari, Sishubaari, Nangalbhanga, Patabari, Ouguri, Deworbil, Souraguri, Sanyasibaari, Dowkha Nagar and Dumgaon in Chirang district and Monakash and Nasonkuri in Bongaigaon district were affected by the floodwaters.
Once Bhutan opens its sluice gates, water from its foothills flow into downstream rivers like the Ai, affecting Chirang and Bongaigaon districts and Hell river in Kokrajhar district.
The Telegraph had on Sunday reported that heavy rain for the past nine days in the foothills of the Himalayan kingdom had sparked fears of fresh flooding in the lower Assam districts of Barpeta, Baksa, Nalbari, Chirang, Udalguri and Bongaigaon, where most areas are still under water.
The report had also stated that water of the Kurishu river was flowing above the danger level at Narayanguri dam (Bhutan sluice gate), on the Indo-Bhutan border in Baksa district.
Bijni sub-divisional officer Pranab Kumar Sarma said the floods had affected around 60-70 villages in Chirang and Bongaigaon. “Many areas were flooded. The Majrabari dam in Chirang developed a leak because of the heavy rush of water, endangering many villages under Bijni subdivision,” Sarma, who visited the flood-hit areas today, told this correspondent over phone.
He said they had received information from higher officials two days back to remain alert. “Normally we do not receive any information from Bhutan about the release of water but we are always alert when there is continuous rain in that country,” Sarma said.
Awdesh Kumar, deputy director-general, Regional Meteorological Centre, Guwahati, told The Telegraph that the forecast was for heavy rain in the Bhutan foothills for the next few days, and if these did not stop by tomorrow, that country would have to open its sluice gates, resulting in water gushing out at 698 cubic metres per second and flooding areas in Bongaigaon, Chirang, Baksa, Barpeta, Nalbari and Udalguri districts.
In Kokrajhar, senior district officials visited the flood-affected areas today.