Flood waters enter parts of Lucknow

August 26th, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Aug 26 (IANS) With the river Gomti in spate, the flood waters Tuesday engulfed several semi-urban localities of this Uttar Pradesh capital, and some upscale areas were under threat.”It is not just the downpour in the river’s catchment area upstream that is responsible for the sudden rise in the Gomti water level here,” state relief commissioner G.K. Tandon told IANS. “The rise is also due to Gomti’s backflow on account of the rising level of the Ganga river” into which the Gomti merges downstream near Varanasi.

Even the dead were not spared the onslaught of the flood waters as two of Lucknow’s four cremation grounds were completely submerged while the third was partially inundated. Cremations were taking place on only one elevated platform at the Bhainsakund ground. Mourners had to wait in queue as the electric crematorium here is not very popular with the people.

The district administration was on its toes since Tuesday morning as a rise of about 20 cm in the river level overnight had sent alarm bells ringing.

“We deployed boats to evacuate people from certain marooned villages on the city’s outskirts while a large number of pumps have been pressed into service to drain excess water from low-lying urban and semi-urban localities,” district magistrate Chandra Bhanu told IANS.

He did not rule out the possibility of inundation of some upscale areas of modern Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar in case the rain continued with the same intensity as it has in large parts of the state throughout the current monsoon season.

According to official records, a staggering 721 human lives have been lost on account of rains and floods in the state since June 1.

“Of these, 93 were washed away in floods while the rest had met their end in house collapses, largely in the rural areas,” Tandon said. Some 79,000 houses have been partially damaged while about 3,000 houses have been totally destroyed.

This is the highest casualty rate in recent years. In 2007, 699 people lost their lives in heavy rains and flooding. This year’s toll is likely to go much higher as there is still more than a month to go before the monsoon comes to an end.

Meanwhile, large scale relief operations were underway to provide some respite to the nearly two million population across 21 flood affected districts of the state. The state has 70 districts.

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