There was 24 hour respite in the flood threat in nine Bihar districts as Nepal did not conduct any blast on Monday to open the mouth of the blocked Bhote Kosi, a tributary of Kosi River.
“We have received information from Nepal through the Central government that Nepal will not conduct any blast today to open the mouth of blocked Bhote Kosi river on which an artificial lake has been created due to an avalanche,” Principal Secretary to the Disaster Management Department (DMD) Vyasji said.
Controlled blasts were conducted in that country on Sunday following which water level in Kosi river had risen to 32 lakh cusecs from 25 lakh cusecs earlier.
Mr. Vyasji said as per information received from Nepal there was no rainfall during the day so far though there was 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.
Mr. Vyasji said he and other State government officials would have a meeting with Central government officials through video conferencing.
“On the basis of latest inputs received after this video conference meeting, the Bihar government crisis management group will meet to plan for reinforcing relief and rehabilitation measures,” he added.
Mr. 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 68,863 people have been evacuated from the danger zone on Kosi embankment so far and efforts are on to take more people to relief camps.
Over 2000 cattle have also been taken to the camps so far, he added.
He said 128 relief camps for human beings and 32 cattle camps have been put in the nine districts for providing shelter to the affected in the floods.
Over 1,500 personnel of NDRF, 500 Army men and 400 personnel of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed to help in the evacuation.
The government has promulgated Disaster Management Act under which people could be forcibly shifted to safer places, he said.
District magistrates of some areas have been directed to constitute mobile teams to take people, who were reported by the media to have taken shelter on roads, to relief camps.
“The situation is not alarming but we are on our toes to prevent any unfortunate incident.” Quality of food and other basic amenities at the relief camps are being regularly monitored, he added.
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi made an aerial survey of the Kosi area on Sunday and inspected relief camps. He also reviewed preparedness to meet the threat of flood with officials, an official statement said here.
Bihar had witnessed a major flood in Kosi belt in 2008 due to breach in Kosi embankment at Kushaha in Nepal.
The river had then changed its course killing hundreds of people and displacing around 30 lakh people.
It also wrecked wide-scale destruction in over 8 lakh acres of farm land.