Fresh flooding feared as Teesta swells

India opens 18 gates at Gajoldoba Barrage

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:36, Sep 10,2020


Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre on Wednesday warned that the River Teesta was likely to overflow its banks any moment as it had swelled by nearly half a metre since Saturday.

‘The River Teesta may rapidly swell over the next 12 hours and briefly flow beyond the danger mark,’ said the FFWC in its daily flood bulletin issued at 9:00 am on Wednesday.

The river was flowing close to its danger mark till filing of the report in the evening.

Water Development Officials at the Teesta Barrage at Dalia said that the river swelled after India had opened gates at the Gajoldoba Barrage amid heavy rains in the upstream over the last few days.

‘Flooding has become very likely in Teesta basin after India opened 18 gates at the Gajoldoba Barrage on Tuesday,’ WDB executive engineer Rabiul Islam told New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat

Frequent opening and closure of gates of the barrages built upstream Teesta across the border in India have turned the river ever-more unpredictable, causing huge destruction to life and property in northern Bangladesh every year.

On July 13, the river flowed at 53.15 metres, a new record of water level in 50 years.

The river has crossed its danger mark overnight at least six times since June 27, when the monsoon flood began, each time discharging a huge amount of water that caused major rivers downstream to swell and overflow for 64 days in total.

The people living on the bank of Teesta have been passing hard times this year with the river eroding vast landscape and washing away many people and hundreds of houses and other structures built along it.

On September 4, the FFWC warned that the Teesta might overflow by the second week of the month because of heavy rains in catchment areas.

Heavy rains began at places in West Bengal and Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya in India on Sunday and continued in parts of the areas till Wednesday.

India Meteorological Department on Wednesday afternoon said that heavy rainfall was likely over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim and north-east India over the next five days.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department recorded heavy rains at catchment areas inside Bangladesh over the past few days as well.

In the 24 hours till 9:00 am on Wednesday, the country’s highest rainfall of 113mm was recorded at the northeastern district of Sylhet, said BMD.

The BMD said that many places at catchment areas in Sylhet might continue witnessing light to moderate rains through today.

Other northern rivers such as the Brahmaputra, Dharla, Ghaghat and Jamuna have also swelled over the last few days.

The FFWC also predicted flooding in the Dharla and Ghaghat basins by the second week of the month.

Parts of north-eastern and central Bangladesh are also forecasted to go under water in the middle of the month because of heavy rains.

If the forecast turns into reality, it would be the second flood during this monsoon. The first flooding killed 257 people and caused an estimated damage worth over Tk 5,900 crore.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email