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Breach in Bhutan, lower Assam threatened

July 11, 2004 00:24 IST

An alert has been sounded in Assam following a breach in the reservoir of the Kurisho Hydel Project in Bhutan, which was likely to inundate the lower Assam districts of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Nalbari, official sources said in Guwahati on Saturday.

The breach occurred in the evening and water from the reservoir was likely to reach Assam by Sunday morning or midday.

The districts have been alerted and measures are being taken to shift the people to safer places. Authorities have been directed to take all possible steps to ensure the safety of the people and the army has also been alerted.

Meanwhile, Majuli, the world's largest river island was cut-off from the rest of the country with the suspension of ferry services as the Brahmaputra was flowing 1.6 metres above the danger level.

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A breach was reported at Hatihal, which inundated a school and a police station, while heavy erosion was reported from Besamara in Upper Majuli and Kamlabari.

The Brahmaputra has inundated National Highway 37 near Teok disrupting road communication in the area.

In the world-famed Kaziranga National Park, the Brahmaputra was flowing 80cm above the danger level inundating more areas of the park on Saturday. The wild life, mostly hog deers, rhinos, elephant and tortoise were fleeing to the upper reaches in Karbi Anglong through a corridor on NH 37.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the situation with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi over telephone, official sources said.

Gogoi apprised Singh about the flood situation in the state and the measures taken for rescue and relief operations while Singh assured that the Centre would provide all possible help to tide over the crisis.

Meanwhile, the chief minister released Rs 60 crore for relief and rescue operations after a special cabinet meeting to discuss the flood scenario. Ministers donated a month's salary for the relief work.

Gogoi directed his ministers to personally monitor rescue and relief operations in the affected districts. Under the circumstances, the cabinet decided to approach other parties and MLAs to discuss postponing the budget session of the assembly scheduled to begin from July 12.

One person was killed in landslides in Sonapur area on Saturday night and the road link between the Barak Valley in south Assam and the rest of the country was snapped, official sources said.

Heavy landslides triggered by torrential rains occurred at 11 places on the National Highway 44 near Sonapur, about 150km from Silchar town, killing one person and blocking the highway.

The Border Road Task Force has launched an operation to clear the Highway.

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