Army, admn join hands to plug breach

The Army and the administration worked together to plug a breach in an embankment which threatened to flood most of the Sector-10 of Kumbh Mela area since the early hours of Tuesday. The flooding of the sector would have required yet another operation to evacuate thousands of devotees still present in that area. However, the situation is now under control.

The information about a stream of Ganga breaking through the embankment near Railway Bridge in Sector-10 (on Sangam Lower Road, which is towards the Jhunsi side) reached the administration around Monday midnight.

Commissioner (Allahabad Division), Devesh Chaturvedi, and Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra reached the spot. The army too was informed about the breach and their help sought.

In the meantime, the Commissioner assured the devotees that things will be brought under control. He himself picked up a shovel and joined the battery of workers deployed to plug the breach, said an Information Department official.

The 9 Engineer Regiment of the Red Eagle Division, with 60 engineer troops and heavy earth moving equipment, reached the site around 2 am. They worked through the night to plug the breach.

"While the breach was plugged in the morning, another similar situation developed at another embankment nearby. Our team, led by Lieutenant Colonel N Sundaresan, continued to work on the breach and, finally, by Tuesday noon, the situation was brought to normal," said a Defence spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that following the heavy rains on Basant Panchami (February 15) and the next day, the Army had helped remove at least 200 pilgrims, mostly women and old persons to a safe place at Jhunsi.

Mela administration officials said that while the embankments were being further strengthened, it has been decided that a "bypass" channel would be dug up to ensure that, in case of a breach, the water does not flood the entire sector and is diverted back into the mainstream.

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