Lalu Prasad seeks Central assistance for flood-hit Bihar

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Araria (Bihar), August 26 (AN): Union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday sought assistance from the Central Government for Bihar that has been badly hit by floods.

He met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and sought assistance by way of Air Force helicopters to be pressed into the service.

"Three helicopters are already air dropping food materials but it will not make much difference. More and more Air Force helicopters should be pressed into crisis management and more boats to rescue those who are trapped and taken to safe area if we rely on the State government assistance we will be responsible for the death of thousands more to be killed in this flood," Prasad said.

According to reports, floods have caused large-scale loss of life and property in six eastern districts of the state following an over 2,000-metre breach in the Kosi embankment in the Nepal region.

The swollen Kosi River breaking its embankments and changing course has ravaged many villages, affecting over a million people in Bihar.

The river flows from Nepal to India and is known as the 'Sorrow of Bihar' for the havoc it wreaks in many districts of the state each year.

According to reports, thousands of people have taken shelter on rail tracks and canals banks and other elevated places.

The three districts of Saharsa division, as well as parts of Purnia and Bhagalpur divisions, have been most adversely impacted. The affected districts are Saharsa, Supaul, Bhagalpur, Purnia, Araria, Katihar and Madhepura.

People in Araria said that they are managing with couple of boats provided by the local legislators as the district officials failed to provide any help.

"We met the District Magistrate who said that boats will be brought into service but no help came. The local legislator has provided some boats and we are traveling by these," said a flood-victim Kumar Ravi Shankar.

Thousands of villagers are forced to live like refugees in the wake of monsoon floods that have swept across large expanses including agricultural fields and human habitations of the region.

Many parts of India have received heavy monsoon rains this year, causing houses to collapse and flood waters to flow across large areas of agricultural land.

India's annual monsoon hits in June every year and retreats in September.

Despite its destructive spree, monsoon is key to irrigating 60 per cent of farmland and to driving economic growth in a nation heavily reliant on agriculture.

ANI

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