Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, sitting thousands of miles away in Mauritius, reviewed the flood situation in the state online and pulled up senior officials for the delay in reaching relief to the victims.
Kumar had been facing flak from several quarters for the alleged apathy of the administration towards the flood victims in the state.
"The chief minister reviewed the flood situation online from Port Louis on Wednesday and directed officials to launch relief on war-footing. He asked the officials, including district magistrates, not to neglect the flood victims," a senior official said in Patna on Thursday.
All the top officials of the state administration and district magistrates of the flood-affected districts were reportedly online when the chief minister reviewed the flood situation.
"Some officials, including district magistrates, were taken to task for their failure to tackle the flood situation," sources in the chief minister's office said.
Nitish Kumar will make an aerial survey of the flood-affected districts on Friday after he arrives from Mauritius on Thursday night.
The government has taken on rent a Pawan Hans helicopter for one month to enable ministers to make aerial surveys of the affected areas.
Soon after Nitish Kumar reviewed the flood situation online, the Bihar government initiated action against four engineers on charges of negligence of duty and failure to maintain pace of work in flood-affected areas. Two of the four engineers were suspended for failing to protect Kamla Balan embankments.
Nitish Kumar's bete-noire Rashtriya Janta Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, who conducted an aerial survey of the affected districts in north Bihar on Wednesday, said the situation was grave as several embankments have been breached, inundating large areas.
He said thousands of people had been forced to take shelter on embankments and were without food and water. Prasad charged the state government with "criminal neglect" for not launching relief and rescue operations.
Bihar is facing one of the worst floods in 30 years with thousands struggling for survival due to "inadequate" relief efforts by the state government.
Sources in the state's flood control cell said waters have started receding in some areas though the situation still remains grim. Over seven million people have been affected in over 3,000 villages across 14 districts in the state.
Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Patna and Bhagalpur are the worst affected districts. Several bridges, embankments, roads and houses have been damaged, especially in villages.
The disaster management officials claimed that distribution of relief material was going on in full swing. They said 1,722 boats have been pressed into service to ferry relief materials and evacuate the marooned people. About 121 relief camps and 34 medical camps have been set up for the flood-hit people and 31 medical teams are working round the clock to provide healthcare.