Infrastructure development, silting worsen flooding in North and North East

23 August 2016

Heavy floods caused by torrential rains have affected central and eastern parts of the country rendering lakhs of people without food and shelter across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Almost all states in the central and eastern parts of the country, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are reeling under floods, not just because of heavy rains rather because infrastructure related work increase the chances of silting.

The centre has pressed into service 56 teams of the National Disaster Response Force to undertake relief and rescue operations in the flood-ravaged states and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised total support from the centre in rescue and relief operations.

The NDRF has so far rescued over 26,000 people.

Home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to chief ministers of flood affected states and promised centre's total support in rescue and relief operations.

PM Modi tweeted: ''I pray for the safety & wellbeing of those in areas affected by floods in parts UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan & MP.''

''I assured the Chief Ministers of full cooperation from the centre in the flood mitigation drive launched by the states.''

In several districts of Bihar, floods have caused significant loss of life and property.

Water levels have swollen in Ganga, Sone and Gandak rivers. Flood waters have gushed into low lying areas in Patna. Sixteen flood rescue teams of NDRF are deployed in the state.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar convened a high level meeting on Sunday to bring the situation under control. He said that flood waters have started receding in some areas.

In Uttar Pradesh, Ganga and Yamuna are flowing above the danger mark and many low lying areas along the river banks have submerged in Allahabad.

People in varanasi are also facing tough time as many ghats have been inundated and water has entered few residential areas as well.

State governement officials along with 11 teams of NDRF are doing rescue and relief works in the region. Around 20,000 people have been shifted to temporary camps.

Army has been kept on alert.

Three days of continuous rains have caused flooding and devastation, particularly in Sagar, Rewa, Sidhi, Chattarpur, Panna, Katni, Damoh and Satna districts.In Rajasthan heavy rain has created flood like situtation in 4 districts resulting in death of six persons.

Over 70 persons have been airlifted over the weekends.

Baran, Pratapgarh, Chittogarh and Jhalawar are the worst affected districts.

Army, NDRF and state administration are carrying out relief work in the affected areas and several people have been shifted to safer places.

Situation has improved in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha.

The local met department has predicted that fresh areas of low pressure has developed which may cause heavy to very heavy rain in coastal parts of the state.

While high intensity rain has led to floods in many parts of the country, the situation in the central and northern parts have been complicated by heavy silting of the Ganga, haphazard infrastructure development and mismanagement of dams, especially the Farakka barrage, say experts.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected across the flood-ravaged states with swathes of agricultural land submerged.

While agricultural losses are not yet being assessed, officials admit huge losses to man and property.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday and sought the centre's intervention. Nitish Kumar said de-silting Ganga was the only solution to avoid the almost annual occurrence and the prime minister is reported to have promised to formulate a national silt management policy.

While MP and Rajasthan received excess rains, Bihar received 14 per cent less rains than normal during the season. The flooding in several parts of Bihar and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh can be attributed to heavy rains in Nepal and Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, resulting in huge discharge of water into rivers passing through the states.

Experts, however, point out that the Himalayan regions, like Uttarakhand are vulnerable to flash floods and all infrastructure development should be keeping that factor in mind.

''Mismanagement at Bansagar Dam and the drainage congestion and siltation in Ganga created by the Farakka dam together created an avoidable flood disaster this year in Bihar and now in Uttar Pradesh,'' one expert pointed out.

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