Ganga surges, flowing above danger mark in Patna, further rise in level likely
After the north Bihar rivers, the Ganga is in spate, crossing the danger level (DL) at Patna and Bhagalpur on Wednesday, inundating a vast stretch of diara areas and low-lying areas in the bordering Saran district.
Officials of the water resources department (WRD) have been put on alert following the release of more than 1.25 lakh cusec of water from Bansagar dam in the Sone River. Currently, the Sone is being fed in the range of 47,000 to 53,000 cusec water from Indrapuri barrage in Dehri. Officials said that the water released from Bansagar dam in Madhya Pradesh may take a couple of days to reach Patna. The Sone is a tributary of the Ganga River.
The Ganga has crossed the DL (48.60 metre) by 11 cm at the Gandhi Ghat in Patna, 21cm at Hathidan and by 18cm at Kahalgaon. The river may top the DL at Digha and Buxar soon, if the current rising trend is any indication, said a WRD engineer.
Alarmed by the situation, WRD minister Sanjay Kumar Jha undertook an inspection of the Gandhi Ghat and other ghats in Patna and reviewed the department’s preparations to meet any eventuality. The minister, however, ruled out any immediate threat of flooding to Patna from Ganga as the river was flowing about 1.85 metre below the highest flood level (HFL) of 50.52 metres at Gandhi Ghat, registered in 2016.
Meanwhile, the rivers of north Bihar like Bagmati, Burhi Gandak, Khiroi and Ghaghra continued to flow above the DL at different stretches in Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Khagaria and Siwan districts.
“The rivers are exerting tremendous pressure on their respective embankments at several points. WRD engineers are maintaining round the clock vigil and carrying out flood fighting work to protect the embankments,” said an executive engineer engaged in flood protection works.
Heavy discharge from Valmikinagar barrage in Gandak has complicated the problems for people in East Champaran, Gopalganj and Saran districts, which are facing floods after the river breached embankments in the concerned districts.
Countering the charges of lapses on part of the officials, WRD minister Jha said the breach in embankments on Gandak was due to the unprecedented discharge of water from Valmikinagar barrage from Nepal side.
“On July 20, around 4.34 lakh cusec water was released in the river. Heavy rains in Champaran, amounting to 200mm in a day, have added to around 1 lakh cusec water in the already swollen river,” said the minister.
The minister said that WRD officials tried to keep the flow of the river within the embankments by putting extra sacks of sands and other materials. “But the water overtopped the reinforced embankment and demolished it at three places in East Champaran and Gopalganj despite the best of flood fighting efforts. WRD staff, however, managed to prevent the breach at more than 100 by resorting to mechanized and manual strengthening of embankments,” said Jha.
According to the disaster management department (DMD), flood waters have flushed into five more panchayats, taking the total count of panchayats hit by the floods to 1,317 in 130 blocks of 16 districts. More than 81.67 lakh people have so far been hit by the floods. The current spell of floods has claimed 25 lives across the state.