Relief material is loaded in an Indian Air Force helicopter to be distributed to people affected by floods, in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. Heavy rains in many parts of northern India with two major rivers, Ganges and Yamuna flowing over danger mark, have resulted in flooding and submerging of many low lying areas. Image Credit: AP

Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to alert and apprise him of the worsening flood situation in his home state. The prevailing floods caused by heavy downpours in neighbouring states have left more than a million people settled in 12 districts of the state badly affected even as the rescue teams have evacuated more than 200,000 populations trapped in their flooded homes.

Flood situation on Tuesday worsened in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh due to release of water from Nepal and adjoining states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttrakhand which led to further rise in water levels of major rivers.

According to Central Water Commission (CWC), the Ganga is flowing above the danger marks at Fafamau and Chhatnag (both in Allahabad) besides in Mirzapur, Varanasi, Ghazipur and Ballia.

In Ballia, the Ganga’s water level has risen to a dangerous level of 60.31 metres, which is about three metres above the red mark, it said.

Similarly, river Yamuna is flowing above the red marks at Kalpi, Chillaghat (Banda), Hamirpur and Naini (Allahabad) while Betwa river is flowing above the danger mark at Hamirpur, and Sharda river at Palliakalan (Kheri).

The meeting between Kumar and Modi comes a day after the Prime Minister assured all support to the flood-hit states. During his meeting lasting for some 45 minutes, Kumar apprised the premier of how Bihar had continued on facing flood situation even though there were deficient rains in the state and blamed the Farakka barrage over the Ganga for the prevailing state of affairs.

“Before the barrage had come into existence, the silt got automatically carried away with the flow of river waters but now it is getting deposited inside, leading to rise in river bed. As a result of which even little rains in the state or discharge of water in the Ganga has been causing floods in Bihar,” Kumar told the media after meeting the PM. He said the silt deposition in the river bed had apparently made the Ganges “shallow and is slowly affecting its smooth flow”.

“Now, the time has come to assess the advantages and disadvantages of this barrage. Well, it’s difficult to dismantle the barrage right now. So, better we can focus on formulating the silt management policy,” he opined. “Our geographical condition is such that even rains in Nepal or Indian states bring instant floods in Bihar,” he said adding floods hit the state thrice this year.

According to him, the first round of flood was caused by rains in Nepal in July this year. The floods affected over 3.3 million population settled in 2,361 villages of 14 north Bihar districts and also damaged 16,760 houses, besides destroying standing crops planted in 510,000 hectares. Then rains in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh again led to flash floods in a few south districts early this month and finally heavy discharge of water into Sone rivers from three dams in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have caused floods in 12 districts of south-western and eastern Bihar, the CM added.

The chief minister suggested the PM to send a team of experts to Bihar to assess the prevailing situation saying “the present situation is fit for it”. “If we don’t take urgent steps right now, then situation will worsen,” he warned adding any delay in this regard would also put a question mark over the federal government’s ambitious project nicknamed “Namami Gange” aimed at cleaning India’s national river.

According to chief minister, the PM assured to seriously look into his suggestion. “We will take urgent measures in this regard and something will be done very soon,” Kumar quoted the PM as having told him.

Meanwhile, flood situation in Bihar remains critical even as the state government is taking all measures to help the marooned population. As per an official report, rescue teams have evacuated over 200,000 people from the flooded areas and shifted them to 162 relief camps. The government is also providing dry as well as cooked meals to the flood victims and has also arranged separate toilets for men and women.

Yet there are reports of protests and demonstrations staged by the flood victims in some places over lack of sufficient or no relief to them. Quite many victims complained of getting no helps from the administration and said they had to arrange boats on their own to flee their flooded homes.

The fresh floods have been caused by a huge discharge of over 3.2 million cusec of water into Sone river from dams in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, which ultimately flooded Ganga and its tributaries. The water level in the river is likely to increase further as another 500,000 cusecs of water have been discharged into Sone from Indrapuri barrage in Rohtas district of Bihar, prompting the authorities to issue a fresh alert. Authorities say the next 12 hours are quite crucial for the residents settled along the banks of the Ganga.

— with inputs from agencies