Heavy rain fills up Bihar rivers, disaster teams put on alert

The spectre of flood is looming large on Bihar with incessant rain in Nepal and districts along the Bihar-Nepal border and rapidly rising water-level in major rivers such as Gandak, Kosi, Mahananda and other rivers, leaving the state government alert and on tenterhooks.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 4.07.18
  •  
BATTLE-READY: Residents of villages in Katra block of the district build a bamboo bridge on Tuesday in view of the rising waters of the Bagmati. Picture by Pankaj Kumar

Patna: The spectre of flood is looming large on Bihar with incessant rain in Nepal and districts along the Bihar-Nepal border and rapidly rising water-level in major rivers such as Gandak, Kosi, Mahananda and other rivers, leaving the state government alert and on tenterhooks.

The situation could worsen in the next couple of days, as heavy rainfall is being reported in the catchment areas of various rivers that flow from Nepal to Bihar bringing high volume of water during the monsoon.

Disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav told The Telegraph: "This is the beginning of the flood season. The situation is not alarming right now and full-fledged floods are yet to come. We are fully prepared to tackle any situation."

Kosi river, also known as the "sorrow of Bihar", was rapidly rising as the Birpur barrage along the India-Nepal border witnessed a discharge of 1.37 lakh cusec on Tuesday afternoon. One cusec or cubic feet per second is around 28.32 litres per second. The trend of the river was categorised by the water resources department (WRD) as "rising".

The situation was grim in West Champaran small rivers coming from Nepal, flooding and wreaking heavy erosion on their banks owing to heavy rain. One such river, Pandai, has flooded, endangering people residing in villages in low-lying areas. On the other hand, water discharge at Valmikinagar barrage on the Gandak river along the India-Nepal border touching 1.21 lakh cusec.

Bagmati river at various places in Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts, Kamla Balan in Madhubani and Darbhanga districts, Lalbakeya river in East Champaran and Gardankatta river in Kishangank were flowing above the danger-level, triggering alarm among people and administration alike. Various small rivers in north Bihar are also in spate.

WRD engineer-in-chief (flood control and water drainage) Rajesh Kumar said: "Our engineers are positioned on river embankments. Flood protection material is ready too. We are taking precautions."

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has positioned teams at Gopalganj, Bettiah (West Champaran), Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Supaul and Deedarganj in Patna (two teams).

"Each of the eight teams has around 40 personnel, including two deep divers. They have four boats each and all the necessary rescue and flood relief material. We have kept seven more teams at our Bihta base so that they could be moved at once," NDRF 9th battalion commandant Vijay Sinha said.

He added that his forces rescued three people in Bettiah in West Champaran district on Monday after they were surrounded by swirling waters of the flooded Pandai river at a place. They were grazing cattle when a high volume of water came from the Nepal side and engulfed the area along the river.