Heavy rain in Uttar Pradesh has forced authorities to transfer nearly 900 prisoners from the district jail in Ballia after flood waters entered three barracks. The jail, which is located near the Ganges River and the border with Bihar, where 27 people have been killed after incessant rain in many parts of the state, including capital Patna, has a maximum capacity of 350 prisoners
The Ballia jail buildings, which are located in a low-lying area, are in poor condition and officials have said water-logging is not new.
"After four days of continuous rain the jail has been flooded. There are heavy floods outside also, because of which we are not able to pump water outside jail buildings," Ram Ashray, Additional District Magistrate (Balia), said.
"The rain has entered three barracks. We have been told to shift 500 prisoners from here to the jail in Azamgarh," he said, adding that of the inmates to be transferred 45 were women.
The Azamgarh jail is located approximately 120 kilometres west of Ballia.
The remaining inmates - 363 of them - are to be shifted to the jail in Ambedkarnagar district, which is nearly 200 kilometres away, according to Manoj Tiwari, Deputy Inspector General (Azamgarh).
"Ballia jail will not be shut down," he added, saying that it would become active as soon as the flood levels go down.
Nearly 90 people have died in five days after rains ravaged parts of eastern UP. In addition to Ballia, Jaunpur and Varanasi districts of the state are among the worst-affected.
The rain has also affected rail traffic, with services from the Balia region to Chhapra in Bihar badly hit.
"After heavy rain at around 4.15 am, we were told that mud had been deposited on the tracks in the Chhapra-Ballia section. This has disrupted traffic on this route," Mahesh Gupta, a public relations officer for North Eastern Railway, told news agency PTI.
"As many as seven trains have been cancelled and another six diverted," Mr Gupta said, while confirming that long-distance trains on the Chhapra-Bhatni-Mau route were still running.
"Efforts are on to repair the track. Normal traffic will resume by late night," he said today.
The weather office has warned of heavy rain and thundershowers in both eastern and western parts of Uttar Pradesh over the next 24 hours. Similar warnings have been issued for Bihar and Jharkhand.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government has said it is doing everything it can to help rescue those stranded. The Union Home Ministry has said it is monitoring the situation in UP as well as Bihar.
With input from IANS