NORTH LAKHIMPUR, July 10 - Incessant rain and dam-induced flash floods accompanied by a storm left North Lakhimpur devastated today.
Since Sunday evening, the flood situation here has been grim as district HQ North Lakhimpur was cut off from the rest of the country following breach of National Highway-15 at Gendhalee in Nowboisa by overflowing waters of the Ranganadi.
The sudden rise in water level was induced by NEEPCO�s 405-MW Ranganadi Hydro-Electrical Power Plant at Yazali in Arunachal Pradesh, which caused havoc in the district since the early hours of Sunday by breaching the embankment at one point, besides inundating thousands of hectares of cropland.
According to sources in the State Water Resources Department, flood in the Ranganadi this time surpassed the amount of deluge which had devastated North Lakhimpur in 2008. The overflowing waters of the river damaged an RCC culvert on National Highway-15 at Gendhalee in Nowboisa by breaching the road connecting North Lakhimpur with Dhemaji, besides many places like Ziro, Pasighat etc. of Arunachal Pradesh at 10 pm on Sunday.
The overflowing waters of Ranganadi also breached its embankment on the right hand side at Joinpur village last night and destroyed households and swept away cattle of 10 families. The breach on the embankment submerged 50 villages under Telahee Gaon Panchayat of North Lakhimpur Revenue Circle and Nowboisa Revenue Circle, including villages like Ezarguri, Bangalmara, Konhuwa Doloni, Bhekeli, Teokia, Kathalphukhuri, Baligaon, Naharbari, Naharani and Gopalpur.
Meanwhile, rescue operations for the marooned people were on in the worst-affected Dejoo Sapori, Kulabeel, Pachnoi, Pub-Khundu, Santipur-Mising and Bagaleejaan villages by the NDRF and SDRF personnel since early morning today. Normal traffic with light vehicles was restored today after repair of the breached portion on NH-15. But the PWD road connecting NH-15 with Dejoo and Kimin in Arunachal Pradesh remained cut off as flood waters of the Ranganadi were still overflowing the area.
The rise of the Ranganadi due to release of water by the NEEPCO dam today claimed the life of one Kanak Gogoi, who drowned at Bagaleejaan area of Ranganadi as he tried to oar a boat. The flash floods forced many villagers to flee for safety. The NDRF and SDRF personnel in the meantime rescued more than 200 marooned people from four villages of a river island of Ranganadi in the Bagaleejaan-Kulabeel-Borbeel area. Many rescued families � mostly women and children, had still not got any relief material from the authorities till 4 pm today in the Borbeel area.
Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah along with State Minister Naba Kumar Doley and Lakhimpur MLA Utpal Dutta visited the flood-affected areas of North Lakhimpur and Nowboisa and took stock of the situation. Incidentally, North Assam Commissioner Mukti Gogoi was camping in North Lakhimpur to monitor the overall flood situation.
In other parts of Lakhimpur district, floods caused extensive damage. All the major rivers of the district, namely Subansiri, Dikrong, Ranganadi, Kakoi and the Brahmaputra were flowing above the danger level. The Gabharu, Singiya, Pabha, Poita, Meneha and Singra too inundated vast areas in the Laluk-Bangalmara region within Nowboisa Revenue Circle.
In the Narayanpur-Dhalpur region, the overflowing waters of Durpang, Diri and Sesa rivers damaged roads and culverts and disrupted communication. In Udesyapur Deori Gaon under Bihpuria Revenue Circle, one Pohar Singh Deori (65) was killed on Sunday night as he ventured out into the flood waters for fishing. In Ghilamara, the Champora, Kumatiya and Jiyadhal rivers inundated 30 villages, besides damaging the Gogamukh-Ghilamara PWD Road at Bordoibam.
As if the above was not enough, a storm accompanied by strong winds lashed North Lakhimpur at 5 pm today, thereby damaging many households and uprooting trees in North Lakhimpur. Traffic too was disrupted and power transmission hit. The district headquarter is out of power since today morning.