| The submerged fruit and vegetable processing unit of Bihar Agriculture University in Bhagalpur on Wednesday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
The availability of potable water has taken a hit in Bhagalpur town because of the rising level of the Ganga.
On Tuesday evening, Barari waterworks, the water treatment plant situated on the riverbank, came in the line of the rising water level and one of the two pump stations stopped functioning. The plant supplies drinking water to more than half the population of Bhagalpur town.
“Closure of one of the pump stations at the Barari waterworks has led to a crisis of potable water. Both the machines fetch water from the Ganga, which is then collected in reservoirs. After being processed in the treatment plants, 38 lakh gallons of water is supplied daily to the town through the underground pipe network. At present, with one of the pumps functioning, we have the capacity to supply only 19 lakh gallons water daily in the morning,” said superintendent of Barari waterworks Hareram Choudhary.
Pump operator Sintu Kumar said: “If the water level in the town rises by another 2-3cm, the second pump would also stop functioning.”
On Wednesday, the Ganga was at 34.5m from the riverbed against the danger mark of 33.68m. Divisional commissioner Minhaj Alam said efforts are on to find alternative arrangements to restore water supply to the town. Engineers of the water resources department have also started to take counter measures to fight the large-scale soil erosion around the Barari waterworks.
Kailu Sardar, chief engineer, water resources, Bhagalpur division, said: “The water level of the Ganga has not risen since Tuesday night, but we apprehend an increase of another 3-5cm in the coming 24 hours.”
Floodwater has also affected the Kiul-Sahibganj loop section of Eastern Railway. The water current has damaged some parts near Lohapool, a railbridge, near Bariarpur station in Munger.
Ravinder Gupta, divisional railway manager, Malda, said: “Boulders have been placed on the railway tracks near Bariarpur. Soil testing (to find the position of the submerged soil under the railway tracks) in places where the water level has reached near the tracks is also on. Train drivers have been instructed to maintain 30kmph speed in the flood-affected areas to avoid any untoward incident.”
Damage to parts of the National Highway 80 near Bhabnathpur in Bhagalpur district has disrupted road connectivity between the district headquarters and Akbarnagar. Connectivity between Maoist-affected Haveli Kharagpur and the Munger district headquarters have also snapped.
In Munger on Wednesday, the Ganga was recorded at 39.82m (from the riverbed) against the danger mark of 39.33m. The Munger administration has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC on the ghats to avert any untoward incident.
Apart from hitting road connectivity and potable water supply, the rising floodwater has inundated vast parts of the Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour, causing loss to research work at the varsity.
The floodwater has submerged the food processing unit, horticulture department, tissue culture laboratory, farmhouses and some of the greenhouses on the campus. Vice-chancellor M.L. Choudhary said: “At least 17-18 varieties of high-breed paddy saplings, including of aerobic rice (a new way of growing rice in non-submerged condition in aerated soils) and maize, have been damaged. We cannot resist nature’s fury. The actual loss to the varsity cannot be calculated because all items such hybrid seeds meant for the farmers have been lost.”