|Villagers wade through water in Athar village of the district. Picture by Lokesh Bihari
Heavy downpour in the last 48 hours in the catchment areas of Nepal has led to a flood-like situation in the districts of north Bihar.
Divisional commissioner (Tirhut) Narmadeshwar Lal has sent alert messages to district magistrates of flood-prone Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, West Champaran, East Champaran and Sheohar districts, directing them to initiate precautionary measures.
According to Central Water Commission, Valmikinagar barrage has discharged 64,000 cusec of water inundating low-lying areas of Bagaha in West Champaran.
Reports available with the divisional headquarters (Muzaffarpur) stated the turbulent Bagmati, Gandak and Budhi Gandak rivers are on a surge. While the Gandak is wreaking havoc in Bagaha, the Kosi is in full spate in the Nirmali and Madhepur regions in adjoining Madhubani district.
Incessant rain has brought the normal life to a grinding halt in Muzaffarpur also. Waterlogging in the town has forced people to wade through it exposing the preparedness of the municipal corporation. Municipal commissioner Sita Choudhary said the heavy rainfall had already choked drains, which were “cleaned ahead of the rainy season”.
Residents of Sadpura and Maripur are however yet to get benefits from drain clean-up exercise. A.K. Sinha of Sadpura said his house is waterlogged owing to choked drains. A portion of the Muzaffarpur-Darbhanga NH-57 also caved in because of rain near Ahiyapur.
More than 32 villages in two flood-hit blocks Aurai and Katra are also facing hardship. Floodwater has spilled out onto the vast agricultural and dwelling lands. Altogether, 300 families of Harni, Bharthuva, Jivajor, Bara Buzurg, Jhoki and Bara Khurd villages residing in huts have been shifted to the long stretch of Bagmati embankment following inundation.
Assistant collector (disaster) Bhanu Pratap said the circle officers of Aurai and Katra have been directed to keep a strict watch on the Bagmati’s rising water level. Engineers of water resources department too have been directed to patrol the vulnerable sites of embankments.
Village guards have been stationed at those exposed sites of embankments round-the-clock where the influential villagers last year cut the riverbank whimsically for their interests, Pratap said.