Monday, 30th October 2017

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Komen's tail drenches state

Cyclone Komen, which lashed Ranchi with 103mm rain in the past 24 hours, and whose weakening depression is predicted to soak the capital district and many other places in the state tomorrow, has put disaster management department on high alert.

By A.S.R.P. Mukesh in Ranchi
  • Published 3.08.15

Ranchi, Aug. 2: Cyclone Komen, which lashed Ranchi with 103mm rain in the past 24 hours, and whose weakening depression is predicted to soak the capital district and many other places in the state tomorrow, has put disaster management department on high alert.

While all schools in Ranchi will stay closed tomorrow, the district administration had to water down its Shravan preparations when a swollen Subernarekha in Namkum started flowing above the bridge.

Today, the state disaster management department also issued rain alerts to all 24 districts, suggesting them to assess their situations and close schools if needed, as well as make other preparatory efforts for the week ahead.

Ranchi apart, across the state, many schools will stay closed. Rain-soaked Hazaribagh, where tenth grader Arti Kumari (16), drowned in swollen Sonbarsa in Barkagaon after she slipped from the dilapidated bridge on Saturday evening while returning from her tuition, will keep schools closed tomorrow. In Dumka, which experienced massive rain damage on Friday, schools are closed for sowing and would open only on August 10.

In Palamau, Garhwa and Latehar, where the depression is headed (see box), the situation is uncertain as of now. Garhwa schools will stay open tomorrow, district superintendent of education Brij Mohan Prasad said, but no confirmation has come from Palamau and Latehar.

However, schools in key urban hubs, including East Singhbhum, Bokaro and Dhanbad districts, would stay open tomorrow.

Ranchi, which came under the grip of Komen formally on Saturday, experienced continuous downpour since last morning, throwing normal life off-kilter.

This afternoon, Subernarekha started flowing over the bridge linking Namkum area with Tatisilwai, the route used by commuters to go to Purulia, Bengal, from the capital.

As swirling muddy waves turned the area into a cesspool, Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said the plan to put up sprinklers for Shravan devotees - as an option to ritual dips in polluted Subernarekha - stood cancelled tonight.

Vijayvargiya, who visited the site with Ranchi SDO Amit Kumar and other officials to take stock of riverbank preparations on the eve of Shravan's first Monday, told The Telegraph: "Tonight, it is not possible to put up showers on the riverbank as water tankers can't reach the approach road. It's a deluge here. But, we will consider it later in the month as and when the situation permits."

Asking devotees to be careful, Vijayvargiya said rains washed away all their plans. "We could only install gensets and LED lights today for night-time visibility. Water level on bridge connecting Namkum with Tatisilwai bridge is so high that mobility isn't possible at present."

Areas such as Argora, Hindpiri, Bariatu, Ratu Road and several others reported heavy water-logging and power snarls extending anywhere between two and eight-nine hours. Today being Sunday, people preferred to stay indoors. Footfall was thin at restaurants, movie theatres and malls.

State disaster management department's special projects officer Sanjay Srivastava said 21 vulnerable low-lying spots identified in Ranchi to tackle "flash flood-like situation now" included Nawa Toli (Upper Bazar), Lower Burdwan Compound, Old Distillery area in between Kokar and Lalpur, Aryapuri (Ratu Road), Lower Madhukam, Alkapuri (Ratu Road), Lower Shivpuri, Lower Refugee colony (Kantatoli), Dr Fateullah Colony, Lower Chutiya-Ketari Began, Darji Mohalla (Doranda), Lower Niwaranpur, Lower Risaldar Baba Colony opposite Nepal House, Harmu areas adjoining Muktidham, Lohrakocha, Rameshwaram (Bariatu), Lower Gwala Toli and Mallahtoli (Hindpiri), Kishorganj, Gudri, Khadgarha Bus Stand and Kokar.

"Our office was open on Sunday to monitor developments," disaster management department's Srivastava said, adding they were anticipating moderate to heavy downpours till August 7.

"We have identified low-lying and flood-prone areas in districts and asked them to do groundwork for setting up community control centres (relief centres). Good thing is that so far major rivers are still flowing under danger mark. But, at the same time, water levels in dams are rising. So, it's time to pull up our socks and be prepared," Srivastava said.

He added they sent guidelines to Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dumka and Dhanbad district administrations to set up evacuation centres, identify school buildings with facilities such as electricity, water, toilets, food to activate them into relief centres if needed; deploy rapid action force (or any force) and earthmovers on standby.

Across the state, train services were affected in Chakradharpur division, South Eastern Railway, and coal transport was hit in Dhanbad division, East Central Railway.