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After Orissa, North India gets hit

As 17 districts of Orissa went under water, heavy rains and inclement weather played havoc in different parts of north India, claiming more than 100 lives, report HT Correspondents.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2008 01:33 IST
HT Correspondents

As 17 districts of Orissa went under water on Saturday, heavy rains and inclement weather played havoc in different parts of north India, claiming more than 100 lives and posing a threat to standing crops.

Reports of disrupted power supplies, clogged communication networks and snapped road links came from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

In Orissa, the Mahanadi breached the embankment at 28 places, affecting nearly 20 lakh people, with 16 dead. Unofficial figures, however, put the number of affected people at about 50 lakh in the Mahanadi delta region.

Many areas in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Cuttack districts remained completely cut off. According to chief secretary Ajit Tripathy, a total of 2,960 villages in 110 blocks and 870 gram panchayats have been hit by the floods and a total of 1.80 lakh people have so far been evacuated.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare the floods as a national disaster. The CM has also asked for immediate release of Rs 1,500 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund. The state government has issued alerts to the district collectors and rushed Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams for operations in the marooned areas.

In Bihar, water discharge from dams is steadily declining, but the government and the flood victims are still apprehensive. Gujarat witnessed flash floods in Suarahtra region on Thursday, but is now coming back to normal. Chief minister Narendra Modi has made an aerial survey of inundated areas.

If Bihar, Gujarat and Orissa witnessed flooding, incessant and heavy rains across north India threw normal life out of gear in several parts and destroyed crops.

In Uttar Pradesh, 82 people lost their lives due to the heavy rains in the last 24 hours, while landslides claimed 27 lives in Himachal Pradesh. National highway No. 22 was damaged near Jhakhri and was blocked at Rampur, Theog, Rohru, Chaupal and Narkanda.

At least 450 people are stranded at Rohtang Pass due to heavy snowfall since last evening. The pass received about 4 feet of snowfall, making the road unfit for traffic. Heavy snowfall in Uttarkashi area had 11 trekkers, seven from Austria trapped at Kalindikhal Pass since Thursday. They were rescued by ITBP personnel on Saturday morning.