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Too much to handle, Punjab sends 70 K cusecs to Pakistan, it says got 2 lakh cusecs, not informed

Ten districts of Punjab are under threat after the flood gates of Bhakra dam were opened. More water is likely to be released in the next 24 hours as well.

Written by Raakhi Jagga |
August 20, 2019 6:01:13 am

As 2.4 lakh cusecs of water released by the Bhakra dam passed through Ludhiana, a few low-lying areas were inundated on Monday. Meanwhile, a breach near the Sutlej led to flooding in three villages of the district.

Nearly 70,000 cusecs of water was released towards Pakistan from Harike Monday afternoon as a damage control measure, according to government officials.

Ten districts of Punjab are under threat after the flood gates of Bhakra dam were opened. More water is likely to be released in the next 24 hours as well.

Breach near Sutlej

Due to a 100-ft breach in a kuchha road adjoining the Sutlej bank near Bholewal Kadim village, Shani Gaon (Shani Dev Temple) Bholewal Kadim and Allowal villages were flooded. Residents were taken to higher ground on NDRF boats. Nearly 10 villages in Phillaur (bordering Ludhiana) were also inundated. These villages fall in Jalandhar district.

A breach was also reported in the Buddha Nullah near Chand Cinema of Ludhiana city, due to which water collected on Chand Cinema road, Domoria Bridge and the roads adjoining Buddha Nullah near Chand Cinema.

Villagers of Bholewal Kadima and Kasabad complained that they did not get any help from the drainage department till Monday evening. Kanwaljeet Singh and Prabhjot Singh, residents of Bholewal Kadima, said, “We arranged sand bags ourselves to plug the breach. Help came by Monday evening, when damage had been controlled to a great extent by the villagers themselves.”

Water Resources Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria visited Dhussi Bandh area on Monday afternoon. Figures from the drainage department revealed that water flow from Phillaur Headworks was 2.61 lakh cusecs at 11 am, which reduced to 2.54 lakh cusecs by 1 pm. Hence, water had started receding in Ludhiana and surrounding areas.

There are 61 villages along the Sutlej in Ludhiana. None of them were officially issued instructions to evacuate.

Water released into Pakistan

Water released from Ropar Headworks ends at Harike Headworks in Ferozepur, which has Pakistan towards the other end. In order to accommodate the extra flow of Sutlej water coming from Ropar Headworks, nearly 70,000 cusecs of water stored at Harike was first released towards Pakistan by opening all the gates, said H S Chahal, superintending engineer, canals, Ferozepur and Fazilka division. “By Monday evening, nearly 1.5 lakh cusecs of water had already reached Harike Headworks and another lakh cusecs is to come. I am moving in the area and getting 52 villages evacuated as this water will reach downstream towards border villages in another few hours. Hence, we cannot take any risk,” Deputy Commissioner Chander Gaind told The Indian Express.

Pakistan reacts

Pakistan on Monday said India released about 200,000 cusecs water into the Sutlej without any intimation, causing flood-like situation in various areas in the country.

“A flood relay coming from Indian Punjab in the Sutlej River can enter Pakistan at any time this afternoon,” National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesperson Brigadier Mukhtar Ahmed, according to a PTI report, adding that water level at Ganda Singh Wala village in Kasur district was around 16-17 feet and 24,000 cusecs of water was entering the area.

He said the administrations of Kasur and other districts located at the bank of the Sutlej river have been advised to take necessary measures to tackle any emergency situation.

Other measures taken

DC Gaind said he had ordered the stationing of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and 240 Army personnel at vulnerable points in Zira, Makhu and Hussaniwala areas in Ferozepur. Gaind said that to combat any flood-like situation in the district, 12 motorboats and other necessary life-saving equipment have also been acquired. The deputy commissioner further said that a large number of villages have been successfully evacuated, and the evacuees have been taken to relief centers. So far, women and children have been moved out of villages close to the Sutlej in Ferozepur from Chandiwala, Gatti Rajoke, Arifke, Gatti Harike, Gatta Badshah villages, while the men stayed back with cattle. However, Gaind said, “The men are also being asked by officials to come out as more water is likely to be released, hence we cannot take chances.”

Gaind said officials of the drainage and irrigation departments have been asked to be ready with gunny bags full of sand and other relevant material to fill any kind of rift in the embankments of the Sutlej. Sub-divisions of Jalalabad and Fazilka have also been put on alert as water goes towards these areas as well. Many villages in this area are surrounded by river from three sides and Pakistan from the fourth side, hence can suffer huge damage if flooded.

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