Bihar Assembly Election 2020: State faces flood challenge in run-up to polls
Amid the hectic preparations for the upcoming three-phase assembly elections in Bihar, while braving the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat, the spectre of floods in many parts of the poll-bound state still looms large.
Retreating monsoon triggered heavy rainfall in the catchment areas in neighbouring Nepal last week, leading to swollen rivers in north Bihar that trace their origin in the Himalayan landlocked nation.
Several rivers are flowing above or around the danger mark, as per the data of the state government’s water resources department (WRD).
However, WRD officials said that the rivers’ water levels are showing a downward trend, much to the state government’s relief ahead of the assembly polls.
But, several low-lying areas in Champaran, Samastipur, Sitamarhi and Darbhanga and Saran districts and also in the Seemanchal region have reported acute waterlogging.
WRD reports showed a rising trend of major rivers such as Ganga, Mahananda and Koshi at some places.
At Karhagola Ghat, Ganga is flowing at 29.85 metres (m), a shade below the highest flood level (HFL) of 31.85 m but above the warning level of 28.96 m.
At Ramayanpur, the Ganga is flowing close to the warning level.
The Koshi is also maintaining a rising trend and flowing at 30.20 m, which is above the danger level of 30 m, near the railway bridge at Kursela.
Though the Mahananda’s water level is on the ebb, it is still flowing above the danger level at seven places.
In Sitamarhi district, rivers such as Bagmati, Adhwara, Lalbekiya etc. are flowing close to or above the danger mark.
In August, floods had affected around 80 lakhs people in the state and also claimed 27 lives coupled with a huge loss of crops and properties.
However, WRD officials maintained that the flood situation was under control across Bihar.
Minister for WRD Sanjay Kumar Jha said the “worst is over” as far as floods in Bihar are concerned. “In a week’s time, the flood situation is expected to get back to normal. Major rivers are showing a receding trend. There were flash floods due to rainfall, measuring upto 250 millimetres (mm), in Nepal’s catchment areas last week and there was also discharge of four lakh cusec of water from the Valmikinagar barrage last Friday, which affected some parts in Champaran and Gopalganj districts. Things are under control. Let’s keep our fingers crossed,” he added.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners (EC) Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar are on a tour of Bihar to take stock of the upcoming assembly poll preparations.
The first phase of polling will be held on October 28 for 71 seats, the second phase on November 3 (94 seats), and the third phase on November 7 (78 seats).
The results of the 243-member Bihar assembly will be declared on November 10.