By Atiq Khan
The Hindu: With the floods wreaking havoc in Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur and Gonda districts in Uttar Pradesh, a population of about four lakh in the marooned villages has been cut off from the mainland. As the major rivers, Ghagra, Sharda, Rapti and their tributaries are in spate, more villages in these districts are likely to be affected.
About a dozen persons have perished in the floods, which include six persons who are feared to have died when the boat carrying them capsized in the swollen Ghagra in Isa Nagar area in Lakhimpur-Kheri district on Saturday. Two platoons of the flood division of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been pressed into service to fish out the six missing persons. Hundreds of live stock has also perished in the floods.
Official sources in Lucknow said that an alert has been sounded in Bahraich district, which has been the worst affected. Here the swirling waters of the mighty Ghagra have entered hundreds of villages in Mihipurwa, Mahasi, Balha, Kaiserganj and Jarwal development blocks, affecting a population of about 2 lakhs. These sources said that two helicopters are likely to be pressed into service for relief and rehabilitation measures.
“The relief measures launched by the Bahraich district administration have proved to be ineffective given the scale of destruction in the marooned villages where the villagers were finding it difficult to move to safer places”, said an official with the Flood Control Division of Irrigation Department on condition of anonymity.
The flood situation was no different in the neighbouring Shravasti district where the flood waters of the Ghagra had entered several villages, which have been completely marooned. Reports reaching the State capital on Sunday said there was an acute shortage of boats to bail out the marooned villagers.
In Balrampur district, the Rapti, which is in spate was rising at a rate of two centimetres per hour, according to the Central Flood Forecasting Division. Vehicular traffic on Lalia-Balrampur and Lalia-Maharajganj Terai roads has come to a standstill with the highways under two to three feet of water.
While the Ghagra and Sharda rivers were rising at an alarming speed in Sitapur district, steps are being taken to evacuate people of about two dozen villages to safer places. About two dozen villages in Karnailganj and Tarabganj tehsils of Gonda district have been marooned following the release of water from Girijapuri and Saryu barrage.