Flood Fury In Punjab: State Continues To Grapple With Incessant Rains And Loss Of Livelihood And Crops
Pakistan opened six gates of the Bhakra Dam on the Sutlej, leading to an increase in floodwater that entered in villages in the border areas of Punjab on August 19, adding to the severe flood threat.
On August 19, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also issued flood alert in Pakistan after India released 70,000 cusecs of water from Harike as a damage control measure into River Sutlej and Alchi dam.
PDMA KP director-general said that India had opened the outlets of Alchi dam “without preschedule” which could lead to a flooding situation in River Indus. Another report from New Delhi suggested that River Sutlej is likely to experience medium to high-level flooding as water levels crossed 17.80 feet after India released water.
Monsoon Fury In Punjab
Following the rains and the release of excess water from the Bhakra Dam, the Sutlej river and its tributaries have flooded villages in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Rupnagar.
The water level in the Yamuna river had risen drastically after the release of 8.28 lakh cusecs of water from Hathnikund barrage in Yamunanagar after which districts areas like Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad and Palwal were put on high alert.
With Forty-five-foot-deep and 175-ft-wide breach due to floods, the Ferozepur district administration remains on high alert with the precautionary deployment of the NDRF and the Army team.
Some residents claim that weed and mud led to a blockage in the river flow near the railway bridge, leading to the breach. The water level of the river surpassed the danger mark near the railway tracks after which rescue operations were started.
Fear Among Residents
At least 80 villages in Shahkot and Sultanpur Lodhi sub-divisions of Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts were flooded on Tuesday. Crops on more than 45,000 acres of land remain submerged and hundreds of families remain trapped in their houses surrounded by floodwater.
While several villages remain cut off, many villagers refuse to leave their houses fearing theft.
The administration officials convinced the families to shift women and children to relief camps. Kapurthala deputy commissioner DPS Kharbanda said over 50 people were rescued by the administration. “We have started work to plug the breach,” he said.
The district administration has announced evacuation in villages along the Sutlej river as a precautionary step along with deploying various teams of the health department, food and civil supplies and others.
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra also issued strict instructions to keep a check on the outbreak of any disease in the state, especially in the low-lying areas.
CM Writes To Central Government
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has demanded an immediate inclusion of Punjab among those identified for on-the-spot assessment of flood situation by an Inter-Ministerial Central Team.
Had visited Ropar today to assess the damage and interact with families who have been impacted. I assure everyone that we are committed to restoring normalcy in flood-hit regions at the earliest and my government will take all possible measures for the same. pic.twitter.com/2NdFbh23hJ
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 19, 2019
The Centre has identified 11 States that the IMCT will assess for flood damageS, but Punjab was not on the list even though it has witnessed large-scale flooding in many areas following unprecedented rain, read an official statement.
Surprised on the exclusion of Punjab from the list of States to be visited by the Inter-Ministerial Central Team to assess losses in flood-affected areas in different States. Request HM @AmitShah ji to direct the Central Team to visit Punjab to assess the huge losses. pic.twitter.com/ziavbK8rAz
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 24, 2019
The IMCT has been directed to visit the flood-affected States of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala to make final recommendations to the Central government for allocation of flood assistance to the affected states.
Capt. Amarinder pointed out that he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a special flood relief package of ₹1,000 crore to tackle losses incurred from floods in Punjab.
The flooding in river Sutlej is the heaviest since 1958, causing damage to standing crops and residential areas in the villages of Punjab. Early estimates suggested the damage is to be of nearly Rs 1,700 crore.
The state continues to grapple with the aftermath of incessant rains as more than 300 villages in Ropar, Jalandhar and Ferozepur districts of Punjab are severely affected by overflowing Satluj river.