A flood-like situation prevailed in Bihar capital Patna on Thursday after it was lashed by very heavy rains over the last 24 hours.
Most of the major roads, arterial routes, streets, lanes and bylanes in the city of over 20 lakh people were submerged under knee to waist-deep swirling waters which got accumulated due to clogged drains and choked sewerage system.
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's house in Kankarbagh area of the capital got flooded, just as heavy water-logging was seen at the state secretariat and legislative assembly. Water entered many houses in various localities of the city.
"Barring a couple of districts in the southwest region, Bihar has received heavy to very heavy rainfall. Of all places in the state, Nalanda topped the chart with over 25.2 cm rainfall from 8.30 am on Wednesday to 8.30 am on Thursday, while Patna followed it with 18 cm during this period," IMD Bihar Director AK Sen told PTI.
Sen said such heavy rainfall over Bihar was due to the coincidence of the shifting of monsoon draft northwards towards the Himalayas and cyclonic turbulence over the state.
"Bihar, specially its northern belt stretching from West Champaran to Kishanganj, will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall over the next 48 hours. IMD is maintaining a warning of keeping 'most vigil' during this period," added Sen.
Meanwhile, people faced difficulty in moving around as automobiles were unable to ply through the waterlogged roads. Many who ventured out were seen dragging and pushing their cars and motorcycles. There were also reports of roads subsiding at a few places in the city.
Businesses were hit badly as footfalls were low and commuters had to wade through knee-deep waters to reach Patna Junction and bus stands.
Many private schools decided to shut down classes due to the heavy rains and attendance in offices and colleges remained very thin as employees, students and teachers failed to turn up.
People blamed the Patna Municipal Corporation's failure in tackling the water-logging and said the city's drainage system was non-functional.
However, Urban Development and Housing Minister Samrat Chaudhary told PTI that all officials of his department posted in Patna were working and "if there is no further rainfall then the water-logging will be removed within eight hours".
"No sewerage system was developed in Patna after 1947 and we are trying to bring it back on tracks. We have identified locations where we are facing discharge of water and we are removing the blockages," he said.
Reacting to water entering the Chief Minister's house in the city, Chaudhary added it was because of its location in low-lying Kankarbagh area of the city, which was prone to water-logging.
The minister also said strict action would be taken against officials concerned if any water-logging was noticed for more than 48 hours.
On the other hand, agriculture department officials celebrated the heavy rains in the state and said one positive aspect of the rainfall was, it led to over 77 per cent sowing of paddy by the farmers.
Bihar had been staring at the prospect of a severe drought and farmers had been eagerly waiting for the rains.
A few days ago, the Chief Minister had said he would wait till August 15 and then move ahead on announcing drought in the state.
Image: A rickshaw struggling to move through a waterlogged street after heavy rains in Patna on Thursday.
Photograph: PTI Photo