148 Dead In Four Days Due To Heavy Rains Across Country
Nearly 148 people died in rain-related incidents across the country in the past four, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the maximum deaths, while incessant rainfall in Bihar has badly hit normal life, with almost all areas of capital city Patna under knee-deep waters and people struggling to meet their daily needs.
In what the weather department said could be the longest delayed withdrawal of Monsoon, rains continued to lash several states including Bihar, where at least 31 people have died over the past three days, while large swathes were inundated, affecting railway traffic, healthcare services, schools and disrupting power supply.
In Uttar Pradesh, at least 93 people have died since Thursday.
According to a state government report, at least 14 people lost their lives on Sunday, 25 on Saturday while 54 had died in the two days before that.
In Gujarat, three women drowned after their car was swept away at a flooded causeway in Rajkot district on Sunday following heavy rains in several parts of Saurashtra region, officials said.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said on Sunday that the four-month monsoon season which is officially ending on Monday is unlikely to withdraw even till the weekend. The IMD said active monsoon still prevails over parts of Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
In hard-hit Bihar, a bird’s eye view of state capital Patna made the city appear like a huge lake dotted with concrete structures. Posh low-lying areas like Rajendra Nagar and Pataliputra Colony are flooded. Private hospitals, medical stores and other shops were submerged in waist-deep water.
The state capital continued to be among the worst affected, some of its parts submerged in water levels rising up to the chest and its residents being rescued with the help of municipal cranes normally used for moving earth.
"It is natures fury before which man is often helpless. We are, however, trying our best. The problem is, we have no idea how long the downpour which caps a prolonged dry spell causing a drought-like situation is going to last.
"Even the weather department seems clueless, making different predictions at different points of time," Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters.
He was speaking after holding a meeting with top officials, including those of the disaster management department, where he also interacted with officials in the other districts through video conferencing.
He later on drove through the water-logged streets of the city, worst-affected localities like Rajendra Nagar, issuing instructions to officials, who accompanied him during the round.
The cranes of Patna Nagar Nigam turned saviours as these were used to pick up people stranded in places rendered inaccessible through normal modes of transport many of them girls and boys from far-off districts, who come here for studies and put up at hostels.
Business has been hit badly as even drug stores were forced to keep the shutters down for fear of the stocks getting damaged and even swept away by gush of water.
Air traffic has also been affected as GoAir announced on Twitter that it has diverted its flights from Mumbai to Lucknow and those from Delhi to Varanasi.
The air carrier, along with IndiGo, issued advisories to passengers from the city to leave for the airport well in advance, apprehending traffic snarls.
SpiceJet also urged passengers to "keep a check on flight status" since movement of flights could get affected "due to bad weather in Patna".
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind's scheduled programme on Sunday at Jharkhand's Gumla district has been cancelled, an official statement said.
Though the reason for the cancellation was not mentioned in the statement, sources said the decision was taken owing to heavy rain across the region.
Train services on the Ballia-Chhapra section of the North Eastern Railway was disrupted due to heavy rain on Sunday. Public Relations Officer, NER, Mahesh Gupta said seven trains on this section has been cancelled, while six trains have been diverted.
In Kolkata also, several streets have been waterlogged due to heavy rains.
In Jammu & Kashmir, a 54-year-old sub inspector of the Border Security Force is suspected to have drowned in a swollen river along the International Border in Jammu, officials said on Sunday.
They said the Border Security Force has launched a massive search operation and also intimated their Pakistani counterparts after Sub-Inspector Paritosh Mondal went missing from the bank of a river near the Jaikishan post in Arnia sector on Saturday around 6 p.m.
The SI, belonging to the 36th battalion of the force, is said to be accompanied by two constables of the force and were out for an area domination patrol when he went missing. The river is in spate due to heavy rains, they said.