Sunday 23 October 2016

Kosi Flood Threat Blows Over, Alert Withdrawn From Six Districts

File- PTI Photo

The Bihar government today decided to withdraw alert from six out of nine districts as the flood threat receded after the Nepal government decided against a blast to open the mouth of the blocked Bhote Kosi, a tributary of Kosi river.

The Principal Secretary of the Disaster Management Department, Vyasji, told reporters that the Nepal government decided to settle for releasing water in a regulated way through holes created in the artificial lake instead of going in for a blast.

"As per latest inputs which emerged during our meeting with Central government officials through video conferencing that Nepal government has decided not to go for blast of debris that has closed the mouth of Bhote Kosi and instead release water in a regulated way through 2-3 holes created in the artificial lake," Vyasji said.

With the decision to go for regulated release of water from the artificial lake in Nepal the increased inflow of water in Kosi into Indian side would be "manageable", he said.

"Now alerts would be in place in only three districts of Supual, Saharsa and Madhepura, which would face the gush of water from Nepal to India," Vyasji said after video conference meeting and subsequent meeting of state's crisis management group in the day.

The evacuation process in six districts of Kosi area would be stopped now, he said adding that those still coming on their own to the relief camps would not, however, be turned down.

The six districts where alert has been withdrawn are Khagaria, Araria, Madhubani, Bhagalpur, Purnia and Darbhanga.

Five columns of army would also continue to stay in these three districts so will be personnel of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and state officials engaged in evacuation and relief work, he said.

Earlier, in the day, Vyasji had said that there was report of no blast of debris in Nepal for today only, which entailed that there was 24 hour respite in the flood threat in nine Bihar districts.

Vyasji had said another news to cherish was that there was no rainfall during the day in Nepal as forecast of about 60-80 mm of rainfall in Nepal.

It would have led to further accumulation of water in Bhote Kosi at Jure in Sindhupaehok district, which is about 100 km from Kathmandu and around 200 km from Bihar-Nepal border.

"There has been report from Central Water Commission of Nepal that water level is receding at a rate of 3 inch per hour in the blocked Bhote Kosi," he said adding there had, however, been conflicting reports about the depth of the lake caused due to the landslide.

Initial reports put the depth at 80 m but subsequent reports suggest it could be 40 to 60 m. The Indian team that had gone to the spot could only make an aerial survey of the spot, he said.

Water experts had said that in the event of water gushing into India due to blasts it would take at least 20 hours to reach Birpur barrage in Supual district of Bihar, he said.

Vyasji said around 2.5 lakh people needed to be evacuated from nine districts of Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura, Khagaria, Araria, Madhubani, Bhagalpur, Purnia and Darbhanga situated on the bank of Kosi river in Bihar as they face the risk of flood in case of sudden inflow of water from Nepal.

Already over 69,113 people have been evacuated from the danger zone on Kosi embankment so far and efforts are on to take more people to relief camps.

The number of relief camps have also been increased to 163.

Meanwhile, the BJP has alleged poor civic facilities in relief camps set up by the state government.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi through a statement said that chaos was prevailing in relief camps due to mismanagement and urged the state government to place special District Magistrate in affected districts for better upkeep of camps for human beings as well cattle.

He claimed that people in the affected areas were taking shelter on roads, railway stations and other places due to mismanagement.

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