Troubles pour for Punjab as incessant rains for over 24 hours left three dead and hundreds of people homeless with flood-like situation prevailing in the state.
As Ludhiana District Administration has declared “precautionary” alert in the wake of heavy discharge in the Sutlej river from Ropar headworks, the district administrations at Jalandhar and Ropar has ordered evacuations of several villages.
Throwing normal life out of gear on Sunday, the heavy rains lashing the entire state has left several places flooded besides causing widespread damage to roads and buildings. The situation has led to cancellation of over a dozen trains as the floods inundate railway track at several places in Ropar area. Besides, the Ropar District Administration has ordered closure of schools and other educational institutions for Monday.
The government’s Disaster Management Group, headed by Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, reviewed the steps needed to be taken to provide relief from imminent threat of floods in the state.
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is expected to the review State Government’s preparedness to tackle the situation, if so warranted, on Monday.
The government is also expected to order the special girdawari in areas where reports of damage to crops is being reported.
The state Health Department has been asked to keep teams ready and the Electricity Department has been instructed to gear up for supplying power in relief centres. Water levels in most of the dams — Bhakra, Pong and Pandoh — remained closed to the danger mark.
In a village near Khanna, three of a family died when the roof of their house collapsed following heavy rains. The deceased were identified as Surjit Singh (35), his wife Baljinder Kaur (32) and their son Gurpreet Singh (9). The couple's 10-year-old daughter escaped unhurt.
Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma has asked the sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) of Phillaur, Nakodar, and Shahkot to get to get 81 low lying and flood prone villages evacuated to save them from fury of floods in the wake of releasing 1,89,940 cusecs of water from the Ropar headworks.
Sharma said that arrangements for dry fodder for animals have been made, and the mandis will be converted into relied centres, if the need arises.
Evacuation process is underway in dozens of villages in Anandpur Sahib and Nurpur Bedi blocks of Ropar district. The teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed at Burj village near Anandpur Sahib to avoid any untoward incident, while the NDRF team has rescued several people from Gharat Basti of Anandpur Sahib as Sutlej river flooded the area.
The incessant rains led to flooding of fields in Nurpur Bedi area. Irate, the residents of Bangala Basti blocked Nurpur Bedi-Ropar road after rain water flooded the locality.
The heavy rains have also damaged a small dam near Chotti Badi Naggal village, where around six cattle have reportedly died.
As per reports, the areas of Pathankot, Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, Nawanshahr and Fatehgarh Sahib received heavy rainfall with Nawanshahr receiving 250 mm rainfall, while Fatehgarh Sahib received 140 mm.
JALANDHAR DC ORDERS EVACUATION OF 81 VILLAGES
In wake of release of 1.89 lakh cusec of water from Ropar Headwork, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Varinder Kumar Sharma asked the SDMs of Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot to get 81 low lying and flood prone villages evacuated to save them from fury of floods.
The DC has asked the SDMs to get these villages out of which 63 fall in Shahkot sub division, 13 in Phillaur and five in Nakodar sub division evacuated at the earliest.
“Due to excessive release of water from Bhakra Dam, safe evacuation of people and cattle from low lying areas is necessary,” said Sharma.
Sharma said that the District Administration was keeping a close watch on the entire situation and they were already fully geared up to face any unforeseen eventuality arising out of the prevailing circumstances.
He asked the SDMs of Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot to be on high alert and coordinate and oversee the evacuation operations of people residing in low lying areas. “SDMs have already identified safer places in the district for movement of people evacuated from these villages,” he said.
“The divers have been put on alert so that they could be roped in if needed,” he said adding that no stone would be left unturned for extending a helping hand to people in case of any problem.
He added that the District Administration was in touch with Army, National Disaster Relief Force and State Disaster Relief Force to tackle with any sort of situation, while appealing to the people residing in these villages to move at safer places immediately.
PRECAUTIONARY ALERT IN LUDHIANA
The District Administration has put a precautionary alert in areas around the Sutlej river in Ludhiana city after water was released from the Ropar Headworks in the river.
“Two lakh cusec of water has been released from the Ropar Headworks which takes about five to six hours to reach Ludhiana. Though the situation is under control, a precautionary alert has been sounded in few areas around Sutlej river,” said Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Agarwal.
“The evacuation centres are ready and well equipped if the water level increases. Around 23 villages can be affected if the water level increases and so we have alerted the villagers,” he said.
The DC said that the river can handle around three lakh cusec of water, and there is no need for panic in the area.
Aggarwal said that in district, there are about nine points, which are vulnerable and flood prone from where the Sutlej river moves forward in zig-zag manner.
“We have made all the arrangements with sand bags and huge stones etc in case of emergency. The Sutlej enters here from Samrala side and the last point is near Jagraon from where it will move towards Ferozepur,” he said adding that the Administration has not given any instructions for evacuation in villages so far.
The village drain of Koom Khurd in the district has turned into a gushing stream of water. Also, a bridge over the drain which connected four to five villages collapsed. People were seen putting their lives in danger by attempting to cross the drain by walking over a makeshift bridge of wooden logs.
Villagers complained that nobody from the government had arrived in the village to listen to their grievances. The villagers claimed that over 1000 acres of farmland were destroyed.
Local MLA Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, who visited the village, accused the Congress Government of not making adequate arrangements for the people. “They (the state government) surveyed the area from a helicopter but did not make adequate arrangements for the people. I can guarantee that nobody from the government will come to fix the bridge,” he said.
NAWANSHAHR, BALACHAUR PUT ON HIGH-ALERT
To ensure safety of residents of 67 villages adjoining Dhussi Bandh of Satluj river in wake of release of excess water from Ropar Headworks, Nawanshahr Deputy Commissioner Vinay Bublani asked the SDMs of Nawanshahr and Balachuar to get evacuated the residents to safer places.
There are 41 low lying and flood-prone villages in Nawanshahr,while Balachaur has 26.
After reviewing the situation of Dhussi Bandh at Tajowal Mandhala in Nawanshahr and Bela Tajowal in Balachaur, the DC directed the concerned SDMs to get expedited the strengthening of these two points that have shown erosion due to continuous heavy rain and flow of excess water.
Local MLAs Aangad Singh Nawanshahar and Ch Darshan Lal Mangupur who were taking stock of Dhussi Bandh in the wake of swollen river, asked the Deputy Commissioner to complete the work of strengthening as early as possible so that flow of excess water could not breach the Dhussi Bandh.
DC said that district administration has called the Army and NDRF teams to save the residents from the fury of floods. Though till now, there is no overflow or leakage of river water but the administration was ready to handle the situation by putting army personnel or NDRF teams immediately, he said, adding that the Army and NDRF teams would be deployed at Nawanshahr and Balachaur, both stations.
“District Education Officer has been asked to open the nearby schools as relief camps while divers, boats, tents, fodder for animals, ration for civilians, medical and veterinary teams have been put on alert,” he said.