With the continuous rain In Tripura and the northeast, several districts in the capital Agartala remained under water and at least 19 homes were damaged in different parts of the state on Thursday.
A report by the state emergency operations center said two houses were badly damaged and five others were in Kamalpur in Dhalai district; Two houses in the Unakote area were partially damaged; Ten homes were hit in the Khoai district.
Newly appointed Chief Minister Manik Saha reviewed the flood situation in the state and instructed the administration to build new dams near the city, drench the Katajal Canal and Howrah River so that water can flow at a faster pace and intensify the use of rainwater extraction pumps in the city.
Speaking to reporters later in the evening, Mayor Deepak Majumdir said Agartala had recorded a record 167 mm of precipitation – the highest the city has seen in the past several years. “Because of the heavy rain, the Howrah River overflowed and the water rushed into the city through Kashipur bus station and Chandrapur Inter State. These factors, along with rainfall, caused the water to become saturated,” the mayor added.
According to city officials, Agartala receives about 1,500 mm of rain throughout the year.
The reverse flow of water from the Katkhal Canal also increased the water level of the Howrah River, causing it to overflow. The mayor also said that the unregulated disposal of waste and illegal encroachment on the canal area has narrowed it significantly, resulting in flooding during heavy rains.
Chief Minister Manek Saha, former CM Biplap Kumar Dip, Mayor Deepak Majumdir and officials from the municipality were seen wading into deep waters to review the situation in Agartala. The mayor, who is also a prominent BJP leader, said the water could have been pumped out of the city faster had it not been for the flooding of the Howrah River.
Rescue boats were seen picking up people stuck in flood waters in parts of the city and its suburbs, while submerged cars were seen.
Agartala witnessed similar scenes in 2019 when the water level of the Howrah, Khwai, Gumati and Katakhal canals crossed the safety limit. Up to 5,894 people in West Tripura and Khoai districts have been displaced from their homes.
Agartala municipality houses about five people and extends over an area of 76 square kilometers in the district. It is the second largest city in the northeast after Guwahati in the state of Assam.