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Monday, September 20, 1999

A village lives in terror as water continues to rise

Rajendra Khatry  
TOLA VILLAGE (KAMPTEE), SEPT 19: As the water rises foot after perilous foot, more than 200 villagers in Tola village, near Kanhan, would spend the night in a state of terror owing to the fear of getting drowned, marooned as they are between the swollen rivers of Kanhan and Kolar.

As water level continued to rise in the two rivers well past midnight, the threat to the life of the villagers increased. Although the district administration claimed it was prepared to take every measure to save the lives of the villagers, it was not visible that they would be able to provide timely and adequate help to the people.

The only access to mainland from the Tola village, an island, situated on a hillock at the confluence of the two rivers-Kanhan and Kolar in Waregaon Gram Panchayat of Kamptee tahsil under Khaparkheda police, has been the Kanhan barrage. But as water overflowed the barrage today afternoon, the village was completely cut off.

The Indian Express team, which could reach the flooded area aftergreat difficulties, saw slush and muck over the barrage. There was no way anyone could reach the village by taking the usual route across the barrage. With more water released from the Pench reservoir in the afternoon, threat to the lives of the villagers increased.

Talking to The Indian Express, S P Ingle, Incharge Kanhan Water Works, said the water level had increasd by 16 feet from 888 feet to 904 today afternoon and was close to the danger level mark of 915 feet. The situation in the early morning tomorrow could become critical for the hapless villagers as water released by opening 16 gates of the Pench river was likely to reach the spot 9 to 10 hours after being released.

The water level in the Kanhan river had been rising steadily as a result of incessant rains in the last three days. A similar situation had arisen five years back in 1994 when there had been a heavy rainfall in the region. No loss of life had been reported then, informed Manoj Joshi, water filteration incharge at Kanhan WaterWorks.

According to the Tahsildar of Kamptee, B B Wandhere, the district administration had been keeping a close watch over the situation and was prepared to take emergency measures in collaboration with the Kamptee Cantonment. Wandhere along with Ingle and SDO, Kamptee had informed Nagpur District Collector Manu Shrivastava about the grim situation and said they are in constant touch with him.

Quoting Colonel Pravin Chandra, Station Officer, Kamptee Cantonment, Ingle said army help may have to be taken to rescue the villagers if need be. If the situation worsened and the water level crossed the danger mark, an army helicopter would be acquisitioned to evacuate the villagers, he said.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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