Fear of floods back in Bihar

July 1st, 2011 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, July 1 (IANS) After two consecutive years of drought, the fear of floods is back in Bihar with incessant rains and heavy water discharge into the Kosi river from Nepal. However, some officials Friday said there was no need to panic.

Water levels in the Kosi, Mahananda, Gandak, Bodhi Gandak and Bagmati rivers have increased after heavy rains in the state and the catchment areas of Nepal in last few days.

Hundreds of villages in Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, Purnea, Araria, Saharsa, Madhepura and Bagaha districts face threats due to the increased water levels.

“Water has already entered dozens of villages in Gopalganj and Muzaffarpur. Rising water level in Kosi river is giving sleepless nights to people,” an official of the water resource department told IANS.

He admitted that the water levels of rivers have been rising to dangerous levels at several places. “It is a dangerous sign,” he said.

Reports suggests that hundreds of people have been asked to shift to safer places by the authorities.

The state government has alerted engineers and district officials and asked them to keep a 24-hour vigil.

“All district magistrates and engineers of flood-prone areas have been directed to maintain high vigil and have been told to be ready with necessary equipment and boulders to protect the embankments,” said S.M. Raju, divisional commissioner (Tirhut).

However, Bihar Water Resources Development Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said all embankments were safe and there was no need to panic.

He said the eastern Kosi embankment, which had breached in 2008 flooding five districts of northern Bihar, was totally safe. “We are taking care of it, there is no need to panic,” he said.

In 2008, over three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in the state in the last 50 years.

According to the water resources department, over four lakh cusecs of water has been discharged into the Kosi river since Wednesday after heavy rains in Nepal in the last few days.

“Heavy discharge into the Kosi river is not threatening the embankment, it is only a rumour,” an official said.

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