With receding water level revealing more breaches in Dhussi Band along Sutlej and seasonal streams, the total number of breaches during recent floods has gone up to 34 across the state. Out of this, 31 breaches occurred in Sutlej, and three were reported in Budhki river, a local seasonal river which flooded Ropar district. Budhki meets Sutlej before Ropar Headworks. In Jalandhar districts alone, 24 have taken place along the Sutlej.
The Drainage Department has now proposed enhancing the capacity of Sutlej river to three lakh cusecs. Currently, the river has the capacity to carry two lakh cusecs water.
These 31 breaches in Sutlej’s Dhussi Bandh took place on 80 to 90 km long stretch starting from Phillaur in Jalandhar to Ferozepur district passing from Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district and Moga.
Jalandhar district was worst hit where 24 breaches took place. In the beginning, only six breaches were noticed including four in Phillaur and two in Shahkot subivisions of Jalandhar, but then the number of Jalandhar breaches rose to 18 and now with the receding of water the count is 24.
Four breaches took place in Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision of Kapurthala district, two in Moga district and one in Ferozpur district as per data sourced from the Punjab Drainage department.
“The major reason behind Jalandhar’s breaches was that these were not strengthened for long and at some places even the reports of illegal mining had come,” said Drainage Department officials, adding that now proper plugging and maintenance of these bandhs required hundreds of crores.
“Neither do we have staff nor the money to repair these bandhs, but one thing can be done that illegal mining can be stopped and several people who are living on these bandhs illegally can be shifted to some other places,” said a Drainage Department official.
Chief Engineer and Head of Punjab Drainage Department, Sanjiv Kumar Gupta, while talking to The Indian Express confirmed there were 34 breaches. He added that Sutlej river, which can carry 2-lakh cusecs, had carried a record 2.75 lakh cusecs at Phillaur on August 18.