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    At least 180 people have died in monsoon floods which have devastated large areas of northern India.

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    At least 180 people have died in monsoon floods which have devastated large areas of northern India. The floods have also covered a number of low-lying areas of India's holy city of Mathura and caused the Jamuna river to rise to 549 feet (165 metres), seven feet (2.1 metres) above the danger mark.

    SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of breaches have developed on the banks of the Jamuna over the past few days forcing thousands of people to seek shelter on higher ground. Apart from the 180 dead, property and crop damage has been estimated at 22-million pounds sterling (40 million US dollars).

    In Mathura, hundreds of labourers are working together with army personnel in attempts to plug the breaches and help stranded people. But the flood damage covers a much wider area than Mathura. In Punjab, the rains this month have been the heaviest in 20 years. According to the government 2,500 villages are affected and many are accessible only by boat. More tan 170,000 houses have been damaged. In Uttar Pradesh state, about 30 people died in one 48-hour period as rivers and canals caused widespread devastation.

    In Mathura, temples and markets were in waist-deep water as the Jamuna rose at the rate of five centimetres (2 inches) an hour.

    Area representatives have written to the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, suggesting the immediate formation of a joint consultative body to find ways of checking the frequent monsoon flooding of Mathura district.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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