A ‘medium’ flood alert has been issued in 250 villages of eight districts of Punjab with situation being grim in districts along Sutlej river in which 2.40 lakh cusecs water was released Sunday from Ropar Headworks. A major portion of this heavy release came from half dozen local rivers, nullahs downstream falling between Nangal and Ropar.
The eight districts in which the alert has been issued are — Ropar, Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran, Moga and Ferozepur. There are around 250 villages located in the low lying areas, informed K B S Sidhu, Financial Commissioner, Revenue. Army has been requested to standby in all these districts. Also orders have been issued to close schools in the affected areas of some districts.
Late on Sunday evening, river water flooded over a dozen villages in Ropar district. Deputy Commissioner Ropar Summet Jarangal confirmed that water had entered in several villages of the Ropar district as he issued a help line number 01881-221157 for people in distress. Also, a portion of three-storey building collapsed near Kurali. Jalandhar DC called NDRF and State Disaster Relief teams with 50 expert divers stationed for rescue operations.
According to the Canal and Drainage Department officials when water flow is up to 50,000 cusecs above normal flow then it is called ‘low flood’, while if the water flow goes up from 50,000 cusecs to 1.50 lakh cusecs in the river then it is called a ‘medium flood’ warning.
Punjab’s three major dams — Bhakra, Pong, and Ranjit Sagar, which are built on Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers, respectively, have received huge inflow of the water from their respective catchment areas due to which their levels have gone up from five to seven feet while the Bhakra is full upto the brim. There is also a forecast of heavy rain on Monday at several places in Punjab and in Himachal, which is the catchment area of dams.
Chief Secretary, Punjab, and other senior officials held a video conference in the evening. The Chief Secretary has asked the district civil and police administration to be alert as the level of water in Sutlej is going to increase in five districts — Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Moga, Ferozepur — Sunday night.
Announcements from the gurdwaras are being made in these villages for the people to go to the safe places.
On Sunday total 2.40 lakh cusecs water was released from Ropar Headworks in river Sutlej, which included 55,000 cusecs of Bhakra dam, 58,750 cusecs of Sirsa river, 83,96 cusecs of Swan river, 14,778 cusecs of Budhki, 12,180 cusecs of Siswan, and 13,800 cusecs of Sagrao. This flow was, however, down by evening from 2.40 lakh cusecs to 1.89 lakh cusecs at 3 pm and 1.63 lakh cusecs at 6 pm.
Officials said that this released water would reach in Jalandhar and surroundings areas by late evening only as water takes time to travel. The intervening night of Sunday and Monday is the most sensitive in these areas, they added. Ropar Headworks is around 100 km away from Jalandhar.
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) dam authorities informed that on Sunday the level of Pong Dam has gone up by around 7.31 feet since Saturday. It was 1364.59 feet on Saturday while it went upto 1371.90 feet on Sunday evening.
Pong Dam, which is built on Beas river, received maximum 2.10 lakh cusecs water in the past 24 hours.
There was, however, no discharge of water from Pong on Sunday because the officials wanted to fill it as it has quite a good capacity. The maximum limit of dam is 1390 feet and still it has around a space of around 20 feet. Pong dam’s level has gone up by 11.90 feet in past four days.
The situation in Bhakra dam is more grim where dam level has gone up by 5.38 feet in past 24 hours including around 3 feet up on Sunday itself . The level of dam is now 1680.11 feet against 1674. 75 feet yesterday. The highest limit of the dam is fixed at 1680 feet by officials and now the dam has opened all its flood gates upto 4 feet Sunday.
The inflow of the water in the dam was recorded 2.41 lakh cusecs in the morning and 1.42 lakh cusecs in the evening. The outflow remained between 53,000 to 55,000 cusecs during the day.
Ranjit Sagar dam’s level was recorded at 522.45 metres on Sunday evening while it was 519.85 metres on Saturday evening. The level of the dam has gone up by 2.6 metres. It has a safe limit of 527 metre and released only 20,088 cusecs water till 10 pm on Sunday.