Uttar Pradesh rivers in spate, Agra prepares for flood fury (Lead)

September 22nd, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 22 (IANS) Torrential rain across Uttar Pradesh led to the swelling of several rivers, inundating fresh areas and affecting over 200,000 people, officials said Monday. Mathura, Agra and other cities along the Yamuna geared up to face floods as the water level in the river crossed the danger mark in New Delhi upstream. In the eastern part of the state, Saryu and Ghagra rivers are in spate and have inundated several villages in Faizabad, Bahraich and Barabanki districts, officials said.

“In Bahraich, over 30 villages with a total population of over 200,000 have been affected by the Ghagra river, which is flowing above the danger mark,” additional district magistrate R. Prasad told IANS.

“According to the latest record, Ghagra was flowing 486 mm above the danger mark. We have already started evacuation in the worst affected villages, including Ghauri, Jalimnagar and Manjhara,” he added.

The Saryu river was flowing 23 cm above the danger mark in Faizabad.

“With Saryu flowing above the danger mark, flood threat looms large over half-a-dozen villages with a total population of 3,000,” Faizabad additional district magistrate Vijay Bahadur told IANS.

According to officials, Ghagra in Barabanki was rising at a rate of 8 cm an hour, officials said.

The rising water level has affected over 5,000 villagers in the district, officials added.

In Lakhimpur district, the rise in the Ghagra has heightened the worries of the authorities.

Meanwhile, expecting the Yamuna to breach the danger mark at Agra Tuesday night, district authorities Monday sounded a flood alert and began moving people from low lying areas to safer places.

In Mathura the water level has already started rising and is expected to peak Tuesday.

The Gokul Barrage gates are being opened to release pressure.

Divisional Ccommissioner Avinash Kumar Srivastav told media persons that both Agra and Mathura district administrations were prepared to meet any eventuality.

District authorities have held several rounds of meetings with field staff and alerted them about the impending flood situation which could create problems in many villages along the river bank.

Subhash Jha, a village functionary of Barauli Aheer block told IANS that villagers were being asked to move to higher areas.

District magistrate Anil Kumar has asked village level workers to stock food grains and essential supplies. The health department has been alerted.

The last flood Agra faced was way back in 1978.

The Yamuna in Agra has been heavily encroached upon and there is no flood plain management.

“The river bed has risen two to three metres in the past 25 years because of heavy siltation. This could create a problem as the flood waters could breach the embankments in the city,” said Ravi Singh, an environmentalist in Agra.

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