Rising Yamuna waters threaten Taj Mahal

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Barabanki/Bhubaneswar, Sept 25 : The rising water levels of the River Yamuna are posing a threat to the Taj Mahal compound, though there is no cause for immediate alarm.

Officials said they had posted policemen near the Taj Mahal to monitor the water levels.

The floodwaters have reached the outer wall of the Taj compound, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

The rise in water levels has been caused by the release of water from two barrages following heavy rains upstream.

"I haven't seen before the floods of this intensity. Entire village is inundated and people are forced to leave their places. I have lost my cattle and other property including food grains," Ram Kumar, a flood-victim said in Barabanki.

Meanwhile, in Orissa, tens of thousands were still stranded on embankments and highways after large areas were flooded following the opening of the sluice gates of a dam on the Mahanadi River.

Reports of food riots breaking out in many areas after villagers complained they were not getting relief supplies have come in from flood-hit Jagatsinghpur district.

BJP senior leader LK Advani accused the Central Government of not providing enough assistance to the state in time of crisis.

"In all such situations what is expected of the Central Government is to be responsive to the calamities and give necessary assistance. Major calamity of this kind can be tackled satisfactorily only if the state is assisted by the Centre in a manner commensurate with the nature of the tragedy," Advani said who surveyed the flood-hit regions of the state.

Authorities said more than 100,000 people were still marooned and 19 more deaths were reported overnight, raising the death toll from floods in the state to 48 in the past week.

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