With swollen Sutlej river breaching Dhussi Bandh at six spots in Jalandhar, water entered homes and fields in 57 villages in Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Ferozepur districts. While fields in all 57 villages were inundated, homes in over three dozen of them were under three to four feet water.
The breaches were reported to be 50 to 70 feet wide and took place at Bholewal Kadim, Meowal villages and two other points near Phillaur and at two places in Shahkot’s Janian Chahal village and Gidderpindi Extension Bandh. Apart from the heavy discharge of water, weaknesses in the Dhussi Bandh were blamed for the breaches. In total, 31 villages of Phillaur, 18 of Shahkot (both in Jalandhar district), five of Kapurthala district and three in Ferozepur got affected.
The breaches took place in the two sub-divisions of Jalandhar districts, including Phillaur and Shahkot. Five villages of Sultanpur Lodhi sub-division of Kapurthala district were inundated due to Gidderpindi Extension Bandh (in Jalandhar) breach. In Ferozepur, three villages of Makhu Nagar panchayat were affected. Dhussi Bandh is made along every river of the state to protect the people living close to the river bank.
While Jalandhar district administration launched a rescue operation with the help of Army, NDRF and State Disaster Relief teams, locals were not satisfied with the efforts.
The worst affected villages were Bholewal, Mienwal, Motipur Khalsa, Mao Sahib, Puadra, Sangowal, Burj Hassan, Nawan Khera, and Bhullar. And the deras (individual houses in the fields) were also badly hit.
On Sunday, Jalandhar DC Varinder Sharma had issued orders to evacuate 81 villages but people did not leave their houses and on Monday morning, gushing water did not give them time even to take essentials along.
“My family is still stranded in the village since morning, but no one is rescuing them,” said Baljit Singh of Motipur village, which was among the worst affected.
A marginal farmer, Upkar Singh of Bhullar village, said his 2.5 acres of land was submerged.
Several people in flooded villages chose to stay put. “How can we leave our house when our cattle are here,” said Jagjit Singh of village Mao Sahib, adding that he hoped that two-feet water in his house would recede soon.
“District administration had not strengthened Dhussi for years which had got eroded partially in the past. Yesterday, we had worked on it day and night but water pressure led to a huge breach of 50 to 70 metres here,” said a Bholewal village resident.
At relief centres too, people complained of administration’s failure to strengthen the Dhussi Bandh. “Bandh could have been repaired and strengthened under MNREGA programme if the state government did not have money and we had appealed to authorities, but no one listened,” said a village sarpanch from Shahkot sub-division. Peter Masih of Mehatpur blamed mining close to the Bandh for weakening it.
The Army, NDRF and SDRF team saved over 80 lives during special operation in flood affected Phillaur. SSP Navjot Singh Mahal led the forces to rescue people stranded in Mao Sahib and Nawan Khera villages. The SDRF was led by SP Gurmeet Singh.
DC Sharma said that in Phillaur 11,400 acres of land was under water as per the initial reports. As the rescue work in Phillaur continued, the administration was informed in the afternoon about another major breach at Jania village near Lohian of Shahkot sub-division. The breach inundated 18 villages.
Asked why they were not evacuating despite a warning, several people in Shahkot villages pointed to thieves active in the area who strike in such situations.
In Kapurthala, five villages of Sultanpur sub-division — Mand Inderpur, Shahwala Nakki, Mand Andrissa, Mand Qutubpur and Ramgarh Delerpur — were submerged due to a breach in the Gidderpindi Extension Bandh, which falls in Jalandhar district.
DC Kapurthala D P S Kharbanda said rescue efforts were on along with attempts to strengthen Dhussi Bandh points.
Nawanshahr, which is closest to the Ropar Headworks, remained safe as the weak points of Dhussi were strengthened here Monday in two villages.
District administration officials visited renowned environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal to seek help for plugging the breach.
Baba Seechewal had helped plug a major breach in Sutlej during 2008 floods near Gidderpindi. The DC said that this work would be done on war footing.
Gidderpindi breach hits Ferozepur
Three villages of Makhu Nagar panchayat located in Ferozepur district were flooded due to breach in Dhussi Bandh near Gidderpindi bridge. The villages were identified as Gatta Dalel, Jamaliwala and Manumashi. Makhu Nagar comes under Zira constituency. Kulbeer Singh Zira, Congress MLA from the constituency, said: “I am in contact with sarpanches and they have told me that up to 3 feet water has entered in many low lying houses while fields are flooded heavily. Now Army is in these villages.”
(Inputs from Raakhi Jagga)