With the rise in level of the Ganga, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday expressed apprehension of further rise in water level by Monday in view of release of water from Bansagar dam as flood-like situation prevailed in state.
Kumar, who held a high level meeting to assess the situation, later went on an aerial survey of Patna, Bhojpur, Saran, Vaishali, Begusarai and Khagaria. He told reporters there is at the moment no possibility of flood waters entering into Patna city.
Stressing that Ganga has become shallow due to siltation, Kumar said “I have consistently been raising this issue for the past 10 years. I had raised the issue when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and now I am raising it before the Narendra Modi government.”
Due to siltation in the river, the depth of Ganga river has reduced and water spreads to the adjoining areas in the event of rise in the water level, he said.
“I appeal to the Government of India to prepare a policy on silt management. The central government should consider it after taking stock of the situation…It should come out with the mechanism or wayout to prevent silt getting deposited in the river Ganga, otherwise it could prove to be a terrible situation in years to come,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile the rising water level of Ganga has more or less created flood-like situation in all the districts situated along the banks of the river in Bihar. Ganga and six other rivers were flowing above danger mark in Patna, Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Katihar, Siwan, Bhojpur, Buxar and Hajipur districts, a disaster management department statement said.
Ganga was flowing above danger mark at six places in various parts of three districts – Digha ghat, Gandhi ghat, Hathidah in Patna, Bhagalpur and Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, Munger district and Buxar district. The districts which are witnessing flood-like situation included – Patna, Vaishali, Buxar, Bhojpur, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur and Katihar, the department statement said. Around 15,000 people are sheltered in 82 relief camps after being evacuated from flood affected areas, it said adding that all camps have the facilities of medical team with medicines.
Stating that several districts of Bihar have been facing the threat of inundation, Kumar said that “The water level of Ganga has increased due to release of water from Indrapuri barrage and other rivers merging into Ganga. “Besides, a huge volume of water has been released from Bansagar dam and it is expected that water level, which has reduced, will once again rise by tonight or tomorrow morning,” Kumar said.
The chief minister held Farakka dam responsible for slow discharge of water from Ganga which has become shallow due to heavy siltation. This causes flood water to spread to other areas. He appealed to people to vacate the rivebank areas and come to relief camps which would provide them proper food and shelter.
National and State Disaster Response Force have already been deployed in the affected districts, Kumar said and added that apart from taking help of big boats meant to ferry sand to evacuate people and animals, the government has made all preparations to airlift the people if needed.
Besides, Army has been put on alert to help the people out from the flood affected areas, Kumar added. “We want to assure the people that we are alert. People should not get panicky and should tackle the situation bravely,” Kumar said adding that government is taking every necessary step to provide relief to the people as “victims of disaster have the first right on state’s coffers.” A disaster management department statement said altogether 1,326 boats are being plied by the government to evacuate the affected people to safer places.
The statement said several other rivers, apart from Ganga, were too flowing above danger mark and they were Sone at Koilwar (Bhojpur) and Maner (Patna), Punpun Sripalpur (in Patna), Ghaghra at Gangpur-Siswan in Siwan and Saran districts, Gandak in Hajipur, Kosi at Baltara and Kursela in Katihar district and Burhi Gandak in Khagaria. Kumar said all the relief camps would be set up as per ‘Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prepared after Kosi tragedy and people coming to camps will be given utensils and basic minimum clothes for which the payment would be made through Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Kumar gave necessary directions during the meeting convened to review the flood situation in the state capital. The CM assessed the flood situation with the District Magistrates of affected districts through video-conferencing. Villages, which have been inundated, will be monitored regularly through patrolling, he said.