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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

At least 28 dead as rains lash Bihar, state seeks help from Centre

The weather department has issued a red alert and said that heavy rains will lash Patna and other parts of the state on Monday. Patna’s collector Kumar Ravi has ordered all schools and colleges in the district to stay closed on September 30 and October 1.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2019 15:14 IST
A view of waterlogging near JP Roundabout following heavy rainfall in Patna, Bihar.
A view of waterlogging near JP Roundabout following heavy rainfall in Patna, Bihar.(Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times)
         

At least 28 people have been killed in the last four days in different rain-related incidents across Bihar as rainfall continued to batter several parts of the state, including capital Patna, officials said on Monday.

The weather department has issued a red alert and said that heavy rains will lash Patna and other parts of the state on Monday. Patna’s collector Kumar Ravi has ordered all schools and colleges in the district to stay closed on September 30 and October 1.

The incessant downpour has inundated villages, cities, towns, streets in all the 38 districts prompting the state government to write to the Centre seeking assistance.

According to the officials at the secretariat, the government has sought two helicopters from the Indian Air Force for lifting and airdropping food packets and medicines. The IAF helicopters reached the state and one of them will be used in Patna and the other in north Bihar.

The government has also written to the ministry of coal requesting dewatering pumps to pump out water from the low-lying areas.

Officials said that principal secretary of disaster management department, Pratyay Amrit spoke to the coal ministry on the issue. The ministry has promised to provide the pumps by Monday.

Union minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai said 20 teams of National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) have been deployed in the affected areas. The teams are carrying out rescue and evacuation operations with other agencies.

Nityanand Rai said the ministry of home affairs is closely monitoring the situation, where normal life has been affected due to incessant rainfall for the past four days.

The spokesperson East Central Railway Rajesh Kumar said they have cancelled and diverted 54 trains and short terminated nine till Sunday evening after railway tracks were submerged in Patna and other districts of Bihar.

Mobile and landline phones connections have also been affected by the rains.

Patna is said to be the worst affected area with four to six feet deep water-logging reported in several areas. Parts of the capital, including busy Dak Bungalow Chauraha, NMCH and others, were submerged in water levels rising up to the chest.

The posh Rajendra Nagar area, Ramkrishna Nagar, Kankarbagh, Boring Road, Nala Road, Gandhi Maidan, Danapur and Gola Road are among the worst-affected localities in Patna. The Pataliputra Colony and Kurji are also severely waterlogged.

Former senior bureaucrats say the state capital has not witnessed such water-logging since the 1975 floods in Patna.

NDRF personnel were seen on the streets with rafts as they rescued more than 232 people from flooded areas to safer locations on Sunday. Residents were also rescued with the help of municipal cranes.

Businesses have been hit badly and even drug stores were forced to keep the shutters down for fear of stocks getting damaged and even swept away by the gush of water.

The release of 2.75 lakh cusecs of water from the Indrapuri barrage across the Sone River has only worsened the situation in the Ganga, which will have a direct impact on Patna.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday held a meeting with district collectors to review the situation and directed them to provide all possible relief, said state water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday expressed grave concern over the situation and urged the Centre to provide assistance.

She instructed the office bearers of her party’s state unit, its frontal organisations, as well as all Congress workers to help people facing hardship.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the latest spell of rainfall is due to extended low-pressure areas creating monsoon trough in different parts of the country, which would result in more showers in the next five days.

IMD director general M Mohapatra said on Sunday that monsoon will retreat later than normal this year: from the second week of October.

This is the first time since 1960 — the year IMD began keeping records — that the monsoon will remain active till mid-October. The monsoon season normally begins on June 1 and ends on September 30.

At least 134 people have died in rain-related incidents across the country, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the maximum cases due to the sudden spurt in late monsoon rainfall. Relief officials said 93 people were killed in various rain-related incidents across UP till Sunday.