Forty Years Ago, September 7, 1978: Shahadra In Peril

While the level of the Yamuna waters in around the national capital is receding at the rate of one centimetre per hour, the threat to six lakh people living in Shahdara and neighbouring colonies across the river continues to be serious.

By: Editorial | Updated: September 7, 2018 12:15:35 am
Forty Years Ago, September 7, 1978: Shahadra In Peril The Indian Express’ Front page (Archives)

While the level of the Yamuna waters in around the national capital is receding at the rate of one centimetre per hour, the threat to six lakh people living in Shahdara and neighbouring colonies across the river continues to be serious. The people were once again warned to be ready to move to safe places at short notice as the swollen river lashed against vulnerable points of the two embankments protecting these colonies. The army was called out once again to carry out an emergency operation to plug seepages at various paints and raise the height of the Shadara bund. This was necessary because the swift currents of the river had eroded the inner side of the bund. The army moved out after accomplishing the task.

Relief Camp Chaos

Chaos prevails at the hurriedly put together relief camps. They are already overcrowded with as many as 15 persons in one tent or room, and more are streaming in every hour with the few odd belongings — usually a charpoy, a trunk and a few utensils. The Delhi Administration seems to have forgotten about some of the smaller camps, which have sprung up over the last 24 hours. In some of these, there is not even one official to organise basic amenities for the victims.

Chopra Murders

The police confirmed the involvement of Billa and his accomplice Ranga in the abduction and murder of Geeta and Sanjay Chopra. They had come to this conclusion on the basis of the evidence, including the fingerprints lifted by the scientists of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory from the Fiat car, which was found abandoned in Adarsh Nagar.

Village Washed Away

The once sleepy village of Naun, about 100 km from Shimla, was the abode of at least 60 people. Now it exists only in the revenue records. A cloud burst washed away the whole village except a solitary room that was left standing amidst the rubble. When a Press party reached this village, it looked like a valley of death. The stench of dead cattle permeated what was once an idyllic hamlet. Thirteen persons lost their lives and a number of others have been injured in the village.

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