The number of flood-affected districts in Uttar Pradesh rose to 18 on Saturday with Sharda, Rapti and Saryu-Ghagra rivers continuing to flow above the danger mark in different places.
Deoria was hit by the deluge on Saturday taking the number of affected districts to 18. So far, 672 villages have been inundated, according to a statement issued by Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goyal. The statement said that 460 villages in these districts are marooned.
According to the irrigation department, the Sharda river in Lakhimpur Kheri's Palia Kalan, Rapti river in Gorakhpur's Bird Ghat, Sarya-Ghagra in Ayodhya's Elgin Bridge and Ballia's Turti Paar were flowing above the red mark, it said.
On Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's directives, Minister for Backward Class Welfare Anil Rajbhar and Minister of State for Water Resources Baldev Aulakh visited flood-affected Bahraich, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur and Barabanki districts for on-the-spot review of the situation there and held meetings with senior officials.
In Gonda and Balrampur there have been reports of damage to Sakraur-Bhikharipur embankment and Balrampur-Bhadariya embankments respectively. Steps were being taken to mend the damage. All other embankments are safe, the statement said. Twenty-two NDRF, SDRF and Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary(PAC) teams have been deployed for search and rescue works.
Adityanath has directed officials to ensure the safety of people from snake bite which is common in deluge-hit areas and to see to it that flood shelters are not set up in places where overflowing rivers are causing land erosion. He has also directed officials to make sure that electric poles in the affected areas were safe, the statement added.
Congress slams government
The Uttar Pradesh Congress alleged that the government is turning a blind eye towards the devastation in the state. It also demanded compensation for farmers.
In a statement issued on Saturday, UPCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said he has been taking stock of the flood situation in the state for about a week.
"From Bahraich to Balia, the situation is quite alarming. At many places, the condition of the embankments is very pathetic, which clearly shows the negligence on the part of the government," he said. "The condition of embankments worsens every year in many districts. Bhikharipur embankment was damaged in 2018 as well. This year Rs 70 crore was released for its repair work. Rivers like Ghagra, Saryu, Rapti, Kuano and Sharda have caused havoc in the state. Many people have lost their lives in different parts of the state including Lakhimpur and Ayodhya due to rain, floods and overflowing rivers.”
"For many years farmers of the state have been victims of natural calamities and anti-farmer policies of the government. The government must declare floods as a calamity and compensate the farmers for their loss of properties and crops,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)