Bihar floods receding, situation improving, says CM

Patna, Sep 6 (IANS) The flood waters are receding in all major rivers of Bihar, and the situation in the state is improving, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Friday. Officials have been asked to speed up relief and rescue operations, he added.

"Water level of the Ganga is receding and likely to recede more by Saturday. I have asked the officials concerned to speed up the rescue and relief operations in flood-hit districts," said Nitish Kumar after an aerial survey of the flood-affected districts along the Ganga.

He said he made a survey of Vaishali, Patna, Munger, Begusarai, Samastipur, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Bhagalpur, Buxar and Saran districts.

Nitish Kumar told media persons that his government will send a detailed report on floods to the central government soon and has already been conveying the information on a daily basis to its department concerned.

State Disaster Management Minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha said that the situation is improving.

"Overall flood situation has improved in the state as the water level of all the major rivers is showing a receding trend and will likely decrease further Saturday," she said.

However, the Met Office has warned of heavy rain and cloud burst-like situation in districts bordering Nepal over the next few days, causing the government to maintain a cautious vigil.

There were reports of protests from several districts about the slow pace of relief.

Reports reaching here from Bhagalpur, Saran, Purnia and Munger said that hundreds of flood victims staged protests. At Rupauli in Purnia, angry flood victims thrashed the circle officer and vandalized government property.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist urged the government to launch massive flood relief operations in the affected districts.

In a new development in flood-hit Begusarai district, leaders of political parties have been prevented from distributing relief material provided by the state government.

"Use of banners, posters and flags of political parties by local leaders at different relief camps and shelters for flood victims has led to chaos, and is threatening to become a law and order problem," said District Magistrate Manoj Kumar.

Officials of the water resources department said the Ganga was still above the danger level at several places, threatening embankments.

"Though all embankments are safe so far, field officials, including engineers, have been asked to stay alert as receding water poses maximum danger," officials said.

Nearly six million people have been affected by floods in 20 districts of the state. At least 179 people have been killed or swept away in floods so far and thousands have been left homeless.

Officials said standing crops on five lakh hectares, worth crores of rupees, have been destroyed. Road communication at many places has snapped.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy rain and a near cloud burst-like situation in districts bordering Nepal over the next few days, and authorities are worried that even more devastation might occur.

"In view of it (the Met Office warning), the government has sounded a full alert in the north Bihar districts and Ganga riparian districts, and has appealed to the people to move to safer places," said an official of the water resources department.

The state government has requested the National Disaster Management Authority to send three companies of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for emergency rescue and relief operations.


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.