Historically, floods and their control have never been a big issue in the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin, as it is today. Floods became a major issue after the British occupied India. When they examined the Ganga basin, they believed that if it could be made “flood-free”, they could levy a tax in return for such protection.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Flood situation worsens in Bihar as another river breaches

Note: According to DAILY FLOOD INFORMATION BULLETIN dated August 2, 2009 brought out by
Flood Management Cell of Water Resources Department of Bihar government "Action (has been)initiated to plug the breach between Bagmati right embankment between 54km. to 55km., (about 6 km. up stream of Kataunjha road bridge on NH-77) under Runnisaidpur block in Sitamarhi distt. Stone boulders are being carried to the site from Dheng and sand filled E.C. bags are being stored to plug the breach. Constant vigil is being kept. The river is flowing above danger level but showing receding trend at Sonakhan, Dubbadhar, Kansar/Chandauli.

As per a letter dated August 2, 2009 of Central Water Commission's Middle Ganga Division-V as of 6 AM, 3rd August, 2009, the water level in Bagmati river would remain be 61 cm above danger mark.

Gopal Krishna

Flood situation worsens in Bihar as another river breaches

More than four lakh people were reeling under the impact of floods in Bihar with Lakhandei river breaching its embankments at two places, worsening the situation in Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts on Monday. Lakhandei, swelled by swirling flood waters of turbulent Bagmati, breached the embankment in a stretch of over 200 metres near Tilak Tajpur in Sitamarhi district early on Monday, Tirhut Divisional Commissioner S M Raju said.

The water also destroyed its embankments at Baraitha Masjid and another place under Katra block in Muzaffarpur district late last evening. Flood waters submerged over 75 villages under Katra, Gaighat and Bandara blocks in the district, affecting a population of around three lakh, Raju said. Engineers and labourers were working day-and-night to plug the breach in stretches of 50 metres at two places on the embankment of Lakhandehi, he said.

The National Disaster Response Force personnel with boats, life jackets and relief were engaged in providing relief and succour to the affected people. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who undertook aerial survey of the flood-hit area in Sitamarhi, announced a compensation package for the displaced persons on the pattern of the one made available to flood-hit victims in Kosi belts in 2008.

A Sitamarhi report quoting official sources said the rescue teams of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Border Security Force (BSF) and NDRF continued the rescue operations on a war-footing. Nearly 15,000 people, rendered homeless due to the breach caused by the Bagmati, have so far taken shelter on the embankment of river for whom make-shift camps were being raised, report said, adding all those inundated by floods have been evacuated to safer places.

The embankment of river Bagmati was overcrowded with displaced persons and the state administration was arranging for their meals, it said. The chief minister, who had already ordered a joint inquiry by the Tirhut Divisional Commission and DIG (Muzaffarpur) into the causes leading to Bagmati breaking its embankment, said each affected family would be provided one quintal of foodgrains and Rs 2,000 as per the calamity relief fund provisions.

About one lakh people have been affected by the breach of Bagmati river. The authorities have so far distributed 3000 plastic sheets, 150 quintals of beaten rice and jaggery among the flood-affected people in Sitamarhi district. The swollen Bagmati also inundated the national Highway Authority of India (NHAI) construction camp at Garha, bringing the construction work to a grind halt in Sitmarhi, official sources said.

According to the state flood control room in Patna, major rivers in north Bihar, including Kosi, Gandak, Burhi Gandak and Bagmati are in the spate following heavy rains in the catchment of these rivers. Water level of Bagmati is above the danger marks at some points along its course in north Bihar, while Gandak is also rising following discharge from Nepal, sources added.

3 August, 2009, Patna
Indian Express

Bagmati waters flood 2 more blocks

MUZAFFARPUR/SITAMARHI: The flood waters from Saturday’s breach of Bagmati river in Bihar submerged two more blocks of Muzaffarpur district adding thousands more to the nearly one lakh people rendered homeless.

This despite the flood fury in Runnisaidpur block in Sitamarhi district being tamed with the breach at Tilak Tajpur village more or less plugged on Sunday.

About 800 labourers, who worked relentlessly for 24-hours, plugged a major portion of the breach by placing boulders and other materials by afternoon. The breach is expected to be totally plugged by Sunday midnight.

CM Nitish Kumar, who along with chief secretary Anup Mukherjee and other senior officials made an arieal survey of the flood-affected villages in Runnisaidpur (Sitamarhi) and Aurai (Muzaffarpur) blocks during the day, held a review meeting on relief and rehabilitation on a school campus in Runnisaidpur. The CM is understood to have issued strict instructions to officials to save villagers and provide relief marooned people.

Nitish said divisional commissioner (Tirhut) S M Raju and DIG B Srinivasan would probe the reasons behind the breach .

Raju said 75 per cent of the breach-plugging work had been completed by afternoon and the remaining work would be completed within the next 12 hours.

Meanwhile, two companies of National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) have arrived in Runisaidpur with 32 mechanized boats from Begusarai and Bihta.

Giving this information, NDRF commandant Sukhdev Raj said over 200 marooned villagers have been rescued by his men on Sunday.

He said the situation was not as grim as compared to last year’s deluge.

“During the Kosi deluge last year, the people were unwilling to leave their homes even if they were facing acute problems. This has not been the case here this time,” Commandant Raj said.

Reports said flood victims taking shelter on the embankment made the breach-plugging exercise difficult by looting workers as well as relief materials. The situation was brought under control by deploying police and expediting relief distribution.

The NH-77 was under two feet water at Kauahi village which disrupted movement of vehicles between Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi.

Sources said when PWD men reached there to put sandbags along the western flank of the highway to stop the flow of water, villagers prevented them from doing so. As it was important to keep the highway open for vehicles to carry relief materials, police and SAP jawans had to intervene to chase away the villagers. Work to stop the flow of water over NH-77 was in progress till the evening, the sources said.

Muzaffarpur DM Vipin Kumar said two teams of National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF), each comprising 20 personnel, were pressed into service on Sunday for rescue and relief operation among nearly 70,000 flood victims.

Official source said over 50 villages in Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts have been affected by flood waters of the Bagmati. About 30,000 people have taken shelter on embankments and roads near Runnisaidpur. No loss of life has been reported so far.

Priti Nath Jha & Shyam Kishore Singh ,
The Times of India
3 August 2009, 04:42am IST