Villages along the Sutlej river in several districts, including Ropar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, are on a flood alert after 2.4 lakh cusecs of water was released from Ropar Headworks in the Sutlej river. This water will cross Ludhiana district around midnight, therefore 60 villages have been asked to stay alert.
R P Singh, Executive Engineer, Drainage Department, who looks after Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur circles said: “In the past 4-5 years, during the Monsoon season, we have seen the maximum water release up to one lakh cusecs only. Hence, it is a record release in the past five years. Though, situation is under control as of now, but we have to stay alert and hence all the officers are in fields and even villagers have been told to stay awake at midnight.”
While it had rained heavily in Punjab Saturday, Sunday remained dry. But due to opening of flood gates of Bhakra, the situation is under watch.
By Sunday evening, water level had started receding at Ropar Headworks, confirmed R P Singh, adding that it was a “good sign”. At Phillaur Headworks, 60,000 cusecs is flowing downstream as of now.
On Sunday morning, Cabinet Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal visited areas along the Sutlej to review the preventive measures.
Ashu while talking with The Indian Express said,”There is no need to panic and it (river) will pass through Sutlej safely. All the bundh points on river are intact, sand bags, stones and other safety measures have been supplied at the dhussi bundh points. We have not even asked any villager to evacuate as situation is under control compared to other districts.”
Ashu was accompanied by MLA Sanjay Talwar, Mayor, Municipal Corporation Ludhiana, Balkar Singh Sandhu, Commissioner Kanwal Preet Kaur Brar, SDM, Ludhiana (West), Amarinder Singh Malhi and other officials.
Subsequently, Deputy Commissioner Aggarwal held a meeting with the senior officers at the Bachat Bhawan here. He said that the negligence shown by any officer or employee would not be tolerated at all in the prevention of floods and any emergency.
He said that the Meteorological Department has issued a warning that heavy rains were likely in many parts of Punjab over the next few days.
When asked if there was any plan to evacuate villagers as it was being done in Ferozepur, Ropar, Nokodar areas, Aggarwal said,”As of now the situation in Ludhiana is under control. All the points of Sutlej river are strengthened and water is within the banks of river. Hence, we have not asked for evacuation as of now, though they are on alert.”
Emergency measures kick in
Ludhiana DC on Sunday directed all departmental officers/employees not to leave the headquarters without prior approval until further orders and also keep their mobile phones open for 24 hours. All SDMs/tehsildars/district revenue officers (DROs) have been to ensure that the flood control rooms set up in the tehsil headquarters are functional. Besides, it must be ensured that the control room numbers are turned on and manned at all times.
Executive Engineer, Drainage, Ludhiana, was instructed to take special care of the 27 points checked during flood inspection and alert in case any immediate action is required. SDMs/tehsildars/naib tehsildars have been asked to visit these 27 points and file reports. Further, the district administration has decided to monitor the Sutlej river for 24 hours.
Aggarwal said that the irrigation department would ensure that the distributaries are cleaned to prevent damage to crops in case of flooding. Municipal Corporation and local bodies officials have been instructed to be ready to drain out area in case of heavy rainfall. All Tehsildars/BDPOs have been directed to instruct patwari/panchayat secretaries to remain present in their respective areas.
Ferozepur DC asks villagers to evacuate
Ferozepur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Chander Gaind on Sunday asked the concerned sub-divisional magistrates to get 52 low-lying and flood-prone villages evacuated to save them from the fury of floods.
The DC and Ferozepur SSP Vivek S Soni jointly visited flood-sensitive areas of the district and asked officials on duty to keep a close tab on the situation and send them hourly status reports.
The flood-prone villages include Manno Machhi, Gatta Dalel, Jamali Wala, Chak Manno Machhi, Gatta Badshah, Gatti Harike, Fettewala, Ghuram, Wara Kali Raun, Arazi Sabra, Kamalwala, Fatehgarh Sabhran, Ashie ke, Tanna bagga, Hamadwala, Kamala Middu, Dula singh wala, Bagge wala, Masteke, Gurditti Wala, Kaleke Hithar, Ruknewala, Gatti Chak Jadid, Kamalwala, Talli Gulam, Palla Megha, Jamma Megha Gatti Mattar, Dona Mattar, Qutabdinwala, Dona Raja Dinanath, Mehmood Ke Mal Hithar, Theth, Dheera Ghara, Bandala, Akkuwala, Bala Megha, Kaluwala, Gatti Rahimke, Langiana, Dona Telu Mal, Gandu Kilcha, Dona Rehmat Wala, Nihale Wala, Lamochar, Bhamba Singh Wala, Veear, Nihale Wala, Habib Ke, Ali Aulakh and Gandu Kilcha.
Gaind said that due to the excessive release of water from the Bhakra Dam, evacuation of people and cattle from low-lying areas was necessary. He adding that excess water had been released from the swollen Sutlej and was expected to touch Ferozepur at around 3.40 am Monday. He said that the current downstream level at Harike is 70,000 which is expected to reach around 1,50,000 cusecs Sunday night.
The DC further said that the district administration was in touch with Army, National Disaster Relief Force and State Disaster Relief Force to tackle any sort of situation. He appealed to people residing in these villages to move to safer places immediately.