The Ganga continued to swell on Thursday, intensifying the flood fear in the city. It would be flowing at a constant level from Friday, though.
The water level increased at Gandhi Ghat and Digha Ghat by 4cm and 7cm, respectively, in the past 24 hours. According to the Central Water Commission (CWC) forecast, the water is expected to rise by another 5cm at both the places by Friday morning.
“The Ganga was flowing marginally above the danger level along the city on Thursday. The water level at Gandhi Ghat was 50.8m at 8am on Thursday. At the same time, the river touched 49.85m at Digha Ghat. According to the water level in the upstream and the rainfall forecast, we expect the Ganga to rise by around 5cm at both the ghats by Friday,” said a senior CWC official.
The Ganga flooded some houses near its banks. It also submerged some steps of over 100-year-old Ganga Palace of the royal Hathwa family, said Sumita Sahi, a resident of the palace. The spate in the Ganga prompted temporary closure of the water sports facility and the floating restaurant at Gandhi Ghat.
Officials in the water resources department said the level of Ganga water would remain constant from Friday.
“Though there is a rising trend in the Ganga at present, it would flow at a constant height from Friday,” said Jawahar Lal, superintending engineer, flood control planning and monitoring circle, Patna.
The rising trend of the Ganga in the upstream at Buxar, around 120km west of Patna, over the past three days is apparently the reason behind its swelling along the city. Jawahar said all the anti-flood sluice gates in the city had been closed. Teams comprising officials from Patna Municipal Corporation, state disaster response force and the district administration were continuously patrolling the riverbanks and the areas close to them.
A crisis management cell headed by chief secretary Ashok K. Sinha is keeping a vigil on the situation in Patna district. “The cell is holding a meeting everyday at 6pm,” said urban development and housing secretary S. Siddharth.