Faced with an alarming flood situation, the Bihar government on Wednesday sought central assistance on an emergency basis, even as the floods claimed two more lives in the state in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 17.
"I have spoken to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, requesting him to provide assistance, particularly for repair of roads and other infrastructure, which were extensively damaged during the current floods," said chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who held a high level meeting with top officials of water resources and disaster management departments on Wednesday to take stock of the situation.
Through a video conferencing, he instructed DMs of all the affected districts to carry out relief operations on a war footing. He asked them not to leave even a single stone unturned, while providing succor to the marooned people. He also asked them to work in tandem with the officials of the water resources department (WRD).
The chief minister said the government was assessing the damage and accordingly it would inform the Centre and seek required funds for carrying out relief operations effectively.
He said though 28 districts in Bihar were prone to perennial floods, the Union government considered only 15 districts as flood affected. "This is a great difference and this would grossly affect relief allocation," he added.
He also said the floods claimed lives of quite a large number of people, but the officials were not in a position to give the correct figure of deaths. "I have asked them to work on this and come out with the exact figure," he said.
Manjhi said he had asked the home minister to help the state fin repairing the damaged national highways as well as the state roads.
"Rajnath Singh has also assured us to provide assistance if need be," he said. He, however, said even if the Centre failed to give funds, the state would use its own resources to restore the roads and other infrastructure.
Meanwhile, with the rising rivers, newer areas have come under the the grip of floods, which now affects 15 districts.
According to special secretary, disaster management department, Anirudh Kumar 14 lakh people are affected, of whom 41921 people were staying in 108 camps, set up in the affected districts.
He said two children drowned in Shishwa and Budhauli villages in Nawada district. They apparently were swept away by the gushing water, which has inundated a major chunk of the district.
Principal secretary, WRD, Dipak Kumar Singh said, unexpectedly, south Bihar districts like Nalanda, Sheikhpura and Patna were the worst hit in the current floods.
Flash floods in the Panchane river in Nalanda caught the officials unaware and as a result caused much devastation in the district." But now, the rivers are settling down and the situation is expected to ease in the days to come," he said.
According to the flood cell of the WRD, all the major rivers including Gandak, Kosi, Ganga, Bagmati, Burhi Gandak and Kamla Balan were flowing above the danger mark.
The Ganga crossed the red line both at Gandhi Ghat and Digha Ghat in Patna.
WRD officials said if the rising trend continued, the river could inundate the low lying areas of Patna district.