Thursday, July 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Narwana canal under threat
Army on alert in Hoshiarpur
From Tribune Reporters
and Agencies

CHANDIGARH, July 19 The Army has been alerted in Hoshiarpur district, the Siswan rivulet breached and flooded Bet area in Ropar district of Punjab while many villages in Ambala district of Haryana stayed inundated as widespread monsoon rains pounded Himachal Pradesh for the fourth day today.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal air dashed to Ropar for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation caused by the breached Siswan rivulet. Sharing his sympathies with the affected families of 10 villages, whose standing kharif crops were swept away by the gushing waters of the rivulet, Mr Badal sanctioned Rs 1.80 crore for the construction of a pucca bandh with permanent studs and stone pitching of the rivulet.

He has ordered special girdawri to assess damage of standing crops for determining compensation to the farmers.

A report from Hoshiarpur quoting Deputy Commissioner Iqbal Singh Sidhu said besides the Army being requested to be ready for any eventuality, anti-flood machinery had been put on alert in view of flooding of seasonal rivulets and rise in the level of the Beas following heavy rains in adjoining Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Sidhu said residents of the mand (low marsh land) area along the Beas had been put on alert, boats kept in readiness and wireless stations set up in all subdivisional headquarters of the district. Besides, vigil had been mounted on the Dhussi protective embankments of the river which was repaired and strengthened at a cost of Rs 102 crore.

SARALA KALAN (Patiala): The flood fury continued in this district with the Army being called in on Tuesday night when the Ghaggar breached its retaining wall upstream of RD 150 of the Narwana Canal and started flowing into it resulting in the caving in of part of its concrete embankment and threatening 80 villages in Ghanaur, Sanaur and Bhunerheri blocks.

Three breaches also occurred in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link ( SYL ) Canal here on Tuesday night with the breach at Kami Kalan village in Ghanaur block being nearly 100 feet. Flood water is three to four feet in Kami Kalan, Lachru Khurd, Lachru Kalan, Sona Majra and Majra Fakiran villages. A few thousand acres of agricultural land were submerged by flood waters of the Ghaggar and the SYL Canal.

The district administration called in the Army here at 1 a.m. on Wednesday when the waters of the Ghaggar and the Dhakansu started moving towards the Narwana Canal by flowing one feet over the bridge built at the Narwana syphon. Following this a retaining wall upstream of the syphon gave way and the Ghaggar water also uprooted two trees and started flowing into the Nirwana Canal. A small part of the concrete embankment of the Nirwana Canal caved in threatening to submerge around 80 villages of the area.

However, the situation was saved with the lowering of the Ghaggar level. A column of the Army, which arrived here at around 4 a.m., was not put into action as sand bags were placed to strengthen the Narwana embankment where it had collapsed.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the village. He said he would be meeting his Haryana counterpart Om Prakash Chautala in the evening and would impress upon him to construct a dam near Chandigarh in cooperation with Punjab so that the problem could be tackled permanently.

Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir said the Ghaggar breached a retaining wall and started flowing into the Narwana branch after it reached an unprecedented level of 121 feet and started flowing nearly two feet above the bridge of the syphon here. He said the district administration called in the Army as there was every possibility of a breach in the Narwana Canal after part of its concrete embankment gave way and muddy water started flowing into the Narwana Canal which takes water to Delhi and Haryana.

Flood water has submerged agricultural land in this village and beyond. Five villages of Ghanaur block were flooded after three breaches in the SYL Canal last night at Kami Kalan, Olana and Sanauli. Flood water in Kami Kalan was three to four feet deep. The village Sarpanch Gurdev Singh said walls in various houses had collapsed In other flooded villages residents had taken their household items to the rooftops.

Additional Deputy Commissioner R. S. Randhawa, who camped at the site last night and was publicly praised by the Chief Minister for his services, said more than 10,000 cusecs of water was flowing in the SYL Canal which was going to the Bibipur lake in Haryana.

This water could also endanger villages around Khanauri in this district on the border with Sangrur as part of it will be carried there through the Sangra Para. Meanwhile, the district administration is gearing up to tackle the situation likely to arise with water heading towards RD 460 at Khanauri which can take 15,000 cusecs of water.

AMBALA: Two more minor breaches appeared in the Haryana portion of the SYL canal near Jansui village close to Ambala on Wednesday. More than two dozen villages were affected badly as flood waters entered there. Later, the breaches were plugged.

According to official sources, the Narwana branch canal adjoining the SYL canal is also flowing over the danger level.

FATEHABAD: Amid reports of flood waters reaching Khanauri in Punjab and heavy rain lashing Himachal Pradesh, Ambala and Chandigarh areas, a team of senior functionaries of the district led by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anil Malik, reviewed flood control measures in the villages of the district situated on both sides of the Ghaggar passing through this district.

Residents of as many as 12 villages have been cautioned against the threat of floods and their panchayats have been asked to keep a close vigil. Besides this, residents of all villages falling on both sides of the Ghaggar have been asked to observe theekri pehra and keep a close watch on the flow of water in the river. These areas are always considered flood-prone and have their borders common with Sangrur and Mansa districts of Punjab.

SONEPAT: The Yamuna river near Sonepat continues to be in spate and its swirling waters have inundated several thousand acres of agricultural land along its embankments.

According to a report, standing crops have also been submerged but the 48-km-long protective earthen bundh is still intact.

SHIMLA: The interior areas of Shimla district, including Rampur, Rohroo and Chopal, remained cut off for the second day due to landslides caused by incessant rain.

The national highway was blocked at many places beyond Rampur.

The newly constructed parking lot near the office of the Deputy Commissioner here collapsed on Wednesday morning. This has exposed the sub-standard construction of the place.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.C. Katoch, said according to rough estimates a loss of over Rs 50 crore has been caused in Shimla district so far due to rains.

The highest damage of about Rs 30 crore was caused to the roads which have suffered breaches and landslides.

Residential houses suffered a damage of over Rs 2 crore and a population of about four lakhs was affected.

SANGRUR: Following heavy flow of water, four breaches occurred today in the Ghaggar at Andana, Mandvi and Chandu villages in the Khanauri area of this district while the Ghaggar water was touching the danger point at RD 460 near Khanauri.

Giving this information tonight, Mr G.K. Singh, ADC, Sangrur, who returned at 10 p.m. from Khanauri here, said all these breaches were 20 feet in length. Two breaches at Chandu and Mandvi villages could not be plugged so far while the other two breaches at Andana and Mandvi villages were plugged this afternoon, he added.

The ADC also said the water was touching the gauge at 752 feet mark at RD 460 in the late evening while the feet-gauge at RD 460 was only up to 753 feet mark. He also said that as per the information, more water could accumulate in the Ghaggar near RD 460 by tomorrow evening.

After breaches in the villages, the water entered in the fields but it did not enter in residential areas in any of the village in the Moonak and Khanauri areas today, he added.

Mr Singh said the administration was aware of the situation and would prevent any loss of life or property due to possible floods in the Moonak and Khanauri areas.

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