Punjab: Bhakra level 4-ft below max limit, but officials say need to create space in Pong damhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-bhakra-level-4-ft-below-max-limit-but-officials-say-need-to-create-space-in-pong-dam-5957953/

Punjab: Bhakra level 4-ft below max limit, but officials say need to create space in Pong dam

Two weeks back when the there was heavy rain in Punjab and Himachal from August 17 to 19 including maximum on August 18, the level of dam went up to 7 feet in just three days from 1674.82 feet on August 17 before rain to 1681.25 on August 19 including a rise of almost 5 feet in just one day on August 18.

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Dirty water of the budha nullah at the Shiv puri in Ludhiana. Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

Two weeks after crossing it’s maximum water storage limit, the Bhakra dam, which was at the centre stage due to recent floods in Punjab despite managing huge water inflow in it in a judicious way, has been able to create some space to store water in case of any emergency due to heavy rains in its catchment area and if water inflow increases in the dam.

The level of dam was 1675.85 feet on August 31 and has a storage capacity of 4.15 feet to touch the maximum storage limit of 1680 feet. Bhakra had to bring down 5.4 feet water to create this space in past two weeks.

Two weeks back when the there was heavy rain in Punjab and Himachal from August 17 to 19 including maximum on August 18, the level of dam went up to 7 feet in just three days from 1674.82 feet on August 17 before rain to 1681.25 on August 19 including a rise of almost 5 feet in just one day on August 18.

Bhakra had crossed its Maximum storage limit by 1.25 feet due to inflow of around 4.87 lakh cusecs water in it in just three days.

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In past two weeks when there was hardly any rain in Punjab and Sutlej water was also 30,000 to 50,000 cusecs only against its capacity of carrying two lakh cusecs, Bhakra made space by releasing low (around 8,000 cusecs) to moderate water from it and create a space of over feet in it.

The reservoir-level of Bhakra is 1690 feet, but it can be filled upto 1680 feet.

On the other side Pong dam’s level was 1385 feet on August 31 which was just 5 feet below the maximum limit which is 1390 feet.

Pong’s level went up from 1362 feet to 1385 feet in past two weeks. Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) had stopped release of water to run its power generation turbines even at Pong dam for days to avoid any flooding on the banks of Beas river when the Sutlej river was playing havoc.

A senior officer at the Pong dam said that the level of the Pong dam must be brought little down as still one month of rain is left. “Going by the experience of last year when incessant rain had come from September 22 to 24, the level of Pong had shoot up by over 10 feet in less than two days,” he said.

Meanwhile, the level of Ranjit Sagar dam was at 523 metre which is four metre below the maximum height.

Most breaches plugged, villages getting back to normal: govt

Most of the breaches along the flooded rivers have been plugged and flood affected villages are fast approaching near normalcy, a Punjab government statement said on Sunday.

“With Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh himself monitoring the operations on a day to day basis, power has now been completely restored, with work in full swing to repair the ravaged roads, amid continuous on-ground operations to assess damage and check outbreak of disease, across all the flood-hit areas,” the statement said.

A 25000-strong multi-department workforce is working round the clock, on the ground, to meet the deadlines set by the CM to complete the relief, rehabilitation and restoration tasks.

The statement said that free seed distribution to the affected farmers has started and compensation distribution under various heads is also on. According to the spokesperson, water supply and sanitation department has pressed in water tankers for providing clean and potable drinking water in the villages until the supply through water supply schemes is fully restored. Water testing teams are testing water quality in all the villages to avoid any epidemic outbreak.

Seven helicopters of the Army and two MI-17 choppers of Indian Air Force were pressed into service to airdrop of food packets/paranthas.

Giving details, the spokesperson said, using boats and braving the risk of electric shocks, employees of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) have successfully straightened the poles bearing transformers to restore power supply in all the 21 flood-hit villages of Jalandhar and 87 flood affected villages of Sultanpur Lodhi. The 66 KV Mehrajwala electricity substation, which was submerged in water, is back in operation.

Repair of damaged infrastructure, including embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure is going on and almost all the breaches in Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Ludhiana have been plugged. Six teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), three teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and six columns of the Army were roped in for rescue operations and plugging of the breaches in river Sutlej, with the support of varipus social organisations and local residents.

With pumping operations in progress on a war-footing, inundated villages are being cleared of water, while connectivity has been restored in 14 of the 20 villages cut off from land completely in the initial deluge in Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision. Six villages that are still cut off are Mand Inderpur, Mand Andrissa, Shahwala Andrissa, Kutubwal, Shahwala Nakki and Ramgarh Daleli, as the Punjab Mandi Board’s road from Village Darewal (in district Jalandhar)- Mand Inderpur- Village Maanu Machchi (district Ferozepur) is breached at three places (one of 900-ft length and two of 200-ft length each). CM Amarinder has asked the Mandi Board to expedite the restoration of the link road. The PWD staff is carrying out a detailed survey of the extent of damage to the bridges, roads and government buildings in flood affected areas.

Medical relief, the statement said, is being provided to the affected people, with healthcare being provided directly to them in relief camps, medical camps and even at their doorsteps. According to the government, Mobile Medical Units are moving in the villages and dedicated anti-larva teams are working to detect dengue larva in flood-hit villages. Special teams are visiting villages to teach the people about measures to prevent diseases.

Veterinary teams are also out in large numbers for the treatment and vaccination of the affected cattle, deworming of the animals and provision of feed/fodder.

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Apart from this, the statement added that a major sanitisation drive has been launched in the villages. Fogging teams have been deployed to check the spread of water borne diseases while sanitary workers and MGNAREGA workers have been assigned the task of professionally cleaning the villages. Bleaching powder is being sprayed in the drains to ward off foul smell and prevent the outbreak of related diseases, the statement said. (Chandigarh ENS)