PATNA: AUGUST 2009
Around one hundred thousand people were affected as the swollen Bagmati breached its embankment near Tajpur in Bihar's Sitamarhi district on Saturday,
prompting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to order a high-level probe into the breach and deployment of National Disaster Response Force personnel.
The river breached its embankment in a stretch of 40 - 50 metres at Tajpur under the Runnisayedpur block, inundating vast areas and several villages in eight panchayats of the district, official sources said.
As reports of swirling waters of Bagmati breaching the embankment reached him, Kumar held a high-level meeting with state Water Resources minister Vijendra Yadav, Principal Secretary (Water Resources) M R Nayak, besides Principal Secretary (Disaster Management) and other senior officials.
He ordered immediate deployment of NDRF in the affected areas to step up relief and rescue operations, an official spokesman said.
The NDRF personnel would reach the site within hours with necessary equipment, the spokesman said.
Kumar said the breach repair works were being carried out by the experts, including the engineers of the flood-fighting cells, on a "war-footing".
An estimated one lakh people were hit by the floods, the sources said, adding reports of four to five children being swept away in the swift currents were being verified.
Road communication between Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi was likely to be affected as flood waters submerged the National Highway near Koati, about 17 km from here, they said.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that the breach occurred due to digging near the embankment last night and the river swelled over a period of time .because of sharp erosions.
Flood fighting continued at the breach-site and the engineers expected to plug the breach shortly, they said.
Divisional Commissioner, Tirhut, S M Raju, District Magistrate Sitamarhi and other senior officials reached the spot to oversee the relief and rescue operations.
The Water Resources Minister accompanied by Principal Secretary of the department and disaster management officials, air dashed to Sitamarhi to take stock of the situation.
The victims had never thought that life after being rescued from the flood waters would become so difficult. ‘‘Babu, hum logon ko dekhne wala koi nahin (there’s no one to look after us),’’ says Anju Devi, 38, Both the Central and state governments have failed to provide adequate succour to Kosi flood victims.
That they have been left to fend for themselves after PM Manmohan Singh described the Kosi flood as a national disaster, is all the more galling. Initially, the state government set up mega relief camps. But, these did not last beyond a month. Although district officials have repeatedly refuted the charge of driving the flood victims out of the relief camps and claimed that the camp inmates vacated the camps ‘‘voluntarily’’, eyewitnesses at Saharsa claimed that the administration had stopped giving them food and asked them to return where ‘‘government relief’’ was being given.