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Yamuna crosses the danger mark near Taj Mahal

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
September 25, 2008 21:28 IST
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The rising waters of the Yamuna river on Thursday crossed the danger mark near the  Taj Mahal, inundating a vast expanse of land behind the 17th century monument.

"With the river water submerging large areas near the monument, it gives the impression of the Taj standing on the tip of a beach", an official manning a flood watch post told

                                                                   The rising Yamuna  threatens the Taj Mahal

He said, "even as the swirling waters of the Yamuna were lashing at the rear walls of the monument , any danger to it was ruled out as no more water was scheduled to be released from the Himachal dam, thereby leaving no scope for any further rise in the water level here."

Meanwhile, fresh release of  water from the dams in the upper reaches of the Ghaghra river in Nepal  has brought another round of misery for the already flood-ravaged  and poverty-ridden population of certain other parts of  Uttar Pradesh , where the ongoing fury of rains and floods has taken 1129 lives.

The rapidly rising  waters of the Ghaghra river on Thursday entered parts of the ancient Hindu temple town of Ayodhya and threatened to enter urban areas in the neighbouring Barabanki district, which had earlier also borne the worst brunt of the floods last month.

The army had already been called out in Barabanki and Gonda districts where a large number of villages were marooned for the past three days.

With rise in the water level, more villages were engulfed by the flood waters, compelling the administration to requisition further assistance from the army.

Nearly 50 motor-boats were flown in on Thursday by a special military aircraft to
Lucknow from where these were rushed to Barabanki.

"The rise in the level of the Ghaghra river was unprecedented,"  principal revenue secretary Balwinder Kumar said.

Kumar, who heads the state's disaster management authority added, "But we are leaving no stone unturned to tackle the grim situation and ensure safety of the flood-hit people."

The fury of the  water has disrupted the lives of  more than 2.6 million people living across 23 of the country's most populous state's 71 districts.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow