Punjab: Ferozepur on flood alert, officials blame Pakistanhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-ferozepur-on-flood-alert-officials-blame-pakistan-5936664/

Punjab: Ferozepur on flood alert, officials blame Pakistan

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday directed the Ferozepur DC to keep NDRF teams on standby. Apart from NDRF, Army teams are also on alert.

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Armymen repair a breach in embankment at Tendiwala in Ferozepur. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Ferozepur district administration in Punjab has been put on high alert after a portion of an embankment along Sutlej river was washed away due to heavy flow of water from Pakistan via a creek.

The natural creek, which is 30-ft deep, is known as Kasur Nallah. The embankment has eroded just before the creek merges with the Sutlej. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday directed the Ferozepur DC to keep NDRF teams on standby. Apart from NDRF, Army teams are also on alert.

“Pakistan has released water in huge quantity, causing damage to the embankment in Tendiwala village, and there is danger of flooding in some villages…the district administration has announced evacuation in most sensitive villages along the Sutlej river as a precautionary step and deployed teams of the health department and food and civil supplies department,” a state government spokesperson said.

Read | Centre forms teams for flood-hit states, ignores Punjab; CM fumes

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Villagers and drainage department officials on Sunday created a cross-bundh on a ditch channel made by Army along the Sutlej river to ensure that only fields get flooded and homes in the villages escape the damage.

Ferozepur DC Chander Gaind said, “Tendiwala is the last village on the border where Pakistan has released excess water via a creek. Sutlej water first goes to Pakistan side and later comes back to India. Tanneries in Pakistan’s Kasur district release polluted water in this creek. We have asked villagers of Tendiwala and adjoining 10 villages to evacuate as a precautionary measure.” However, only few villagers are willing to leave their homes despite the administration’s advice.

“I have never seen the creek full till in the past few years. Water is coming with high speed and eroding embankments along Sutlej at Tendiwala. Our teams are working to contain the damage. Repair work is on since Saturday,” said Superintending Engineer, Drainage Department, Pawan Kapur.

Currently, Sutlej is flowing at 57,000 cusecs, which is lower than the danger mark. This is the reason authorities have pointed a finger at Pakistan for releasing more water in Kasur Nallah. The Kasur district is located about 17 km from Hussainiwala border of Ferozepur and has over 300 units of leather industry which often release water into Sutlej.

Fazilka DC Manpreet Chhatwal, too, blamed Pakistan for the flooding there. He said, “Eighteen villages of our district are affected and their geographical location is the reason for flooding as they are surrounded by Pakistan on three sides and there is little scope of water to drain out.”

“The pollution control department has taken samples of water coming from Pakistan to ascertain what pollutants are coming through the water,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ferozepur DC has informed the Chief Minister that in 15 flood-affected villages in Makhu and Hussaniwala, nearly 500 persons have been evacuated to safer places.