“Tehri sparks flood scare in 1,200 villages downstream Ganga” by Ashis Tripathi, D.S. Kunwar, Times of India
Kunwar, D.S. and Tripathi, A. “Tehri sparks flood scare in 1,200 villages downstream Ganga.” The Times of India. 21 September 2010.
By D.S. Kunwar and Ashis Tripathi
September 21, 2010
DEHRADUN/LUCKNOW: Water levels at the Tehri dam rose menacingly following incessant rain in the hills of Uttrakhand, and the release of waters from its massive reservoir to avoid breaches threatened flooding of nearly 1,200 villages downstream along the Ganga.
But a threat of floods in the holy city of Haridwar passed, with Tehri authorities staggering flows to avoid a sudden surge. “There is no threat to Haridwar and other nearby places. The water has started receding,” said Haridwar district magistrate Minakshi Sundaram.
More than 55,000 cusec of water flowed into the Tehri reservoir on Monday and the release into the already swollen river systems that drain into the Ganga posed a threat to villages in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, where torrential rain has already left 180 people dead in floods and landslides.
Water has been released into the dam of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation from Bhagirathi and other rivers, raising its level to 830 feet, still 20ft short of the danger mark, THDC chief general manager AL Shah told TOI.
“But there is no imminent threat to the dam,” he said. So far, residents of 50 villages near the dam have not been asked to shift, he said.
The flood situation remained grim in Moradabad, Bareilly and Rampur districts of western UP and also the districts of Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar and Almora districts of Uttarakhand. Nineteen people died in UP on Monday, taking the toll to 120.
While five people died in Bareilly, four deaths were reported from Unnao and two each from Faizabad, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnore and Pilibhit, officials said. More than 500 villages are under water in the state — most of these being in Bareilly and Moradabad divisions. Inclement weather prevented IAF helicopters, sent from Bareilly, from carrying out rescue operations in Bijnore and Uttarakhand.
Traffic on NH 24 connecting Delhi with Lucknow, which was closed on Saturday after a section near Moradabad division was flooded, remained suspended and the highway was expected to be shut until Wednesday. In Rampur, two lakh people have been affected.
About 30,000 people of Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar and Almora districts of Uttarakhand were homeless after their houses collapsed in landslides, cloudbursts and incessant rain for the past three days.
More than 15,000 people of 335 villages in Hardwar districts are seeking shelters in nearby villages. “We are facing real danger from the Ganga and its tributaries,” said Mahesh Kumar, a resident of Bhagwanpur. In some villages, people are trapped inside their houses. “Our life is in danger as we can neither stay indoors nor move out,” said the 56-year-old resident.
The Delhi-Dehradun-Rishikesh highway been closed as roads have suffered damage near Patanjali Yogpeeth, Chutmalpur and Mohand. All link roads were also closed.
Residents of more than 100 villages in Almora district were living under the open sky after their houses were flattened by cloudbursts and landslides. Around 20,000 villagers are homeless after their houses were swept away by swirling waters of Kosi and Ramganga rivers. They are also running out of food, officials said.