M A I N   N E W S

Ghaggar breached at 5 more places
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Khanauri, August 7
Breaches in the Ghaggar here increased to nine from four till yesterday even as the river, which is flowing at a record high, inundated 10 villages besides inundating crops in another 16 villagers in this area. The civil officials have been asked to stay put in affected villages till the normalcy returned.

The Ghaggar, which is flowing at a record high of 753.6 feet here, has breached at nine places, including two breaches each at Shutrana, Rasauli and Badshahpur, besides three at Saparheri. Three columns of the Army including the Mechanised Infantry, 24 Medium and an Enigneers Regiment have been put into service in the area.

Sources said villagers in the 10 marooned villages of Gular, Badshahpur, Noorpur, Rampur Partan, Dwarkapur, Sadharanpur, Seona, Harchandpur, Rasuali and Chicherwal were being provided with food, water and other ration item through motor boats and dinghies by Army personnel. Samana Subdivisional Magistrate Gurpal Singh said that since water had entered the Badshahpur grid and power supply had been disrupted in the area, the administration was also ferrying diesel to the affected villages so that they could use motors to pump up drinking water.

Meanwhile, villagers at Khanauri said despite their holding protests nothing had been done to remove a bandh constructed at Hotipur village in Sangrur district by people of the district. Sukhdev Singh of Gular said this particular bandh was responsible for flooding their villages. He said if the bandh was bought down extra water of the Ghaggar could flow down into the Batisdara drain and join the river upstream, relieving load at Khanauri, where the Ghaggar flows beneath the Bhakra main line through syphons and headed up when the syphons could not take the onrush of water.

Meanwhile, Mrs Preneet Kaur and Rural Development Minister Lal Singh toured flood-hit areas in Devigarh. She said she had asked the district administration to ensure that its officials remained in the affected villages till the situation normalised. She said work would begin on the channelising of the Tangri and Markanda rivers after the end of the monsoon season as the NABARD had already released Rs 30 crore for the purpose.

The district administration had meanwhile, divided the flood-hit area into zones and further constituted teams of officials to visit all flood-hit areas. These officials included a patwari, a medical specialist, a veterinary surgeon and a panchayat secretary. The administration had also decided to do earthfilling at the Patiala - Pehowa road, which had been swept away close to Rohar Jagir village.

Meanwhile, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) K.R. Lakhanpal today visited the breach sites on the SYL canal at Alampur and also those on the Nirwana branch of the Bhakra canal at Lachhru Kalan. Cooperation Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa also visited flood-hit villages in Ghanaur where the situation had normalised somewhat with the flood water having subsided. He also interacted with people and asked them not to be misled by vested interests who were asking them to agitate for construction of syphons at the breach sites before the breaches were plugged. The minister said the breaches would be plugged in one week’s time.

However, villagers of Lachhru were still adamant that the syphones be constructed before the restart of the canal and said they would resist any attempt to plug the breaches.


Ropar admn sounds alert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Ropar, August 7
The district administration of Ropar has geared up to handle any emergency arising out of the possible flash floods apprehended due to the overflowing waters of Tibet’s Perchu Lake.

In an emergency meeting convened today by the ADC Ropar, heads of all the departments concerned were alerted to deal with any awkward situation that may arise due to the overflow of waters in the Sutlej. This has been done despite assurances by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) authorities that the situation in the downstream Bhakra areas would not get alarming because there was enough scope to accommodate excess water.

Mr Surjit Singh, ADC, Ropar said the three-hour emergency meeting was convened today, following a crash message from the Himachal Pradesh Government which had already sounded a red alert regarding the possibility of flash floods.

He, however, said the district administration was ready for any eventuality that may arise in areas lining up the banks of the Sutlej. “We decided to take caution despite BBMB’s assurances that there was enough room for water in the Gobind Sagar Lake.” BBMB sources, meanwhile, state they have an absorption capacity of 1680 feet, whereas the current figure stands at 1544 feet. This brings the water level in Gobind Sagar Lake down by about 90 feet as compared to the last year.

Secretary, BBMB, Mr Anil Arora confirmed this, adding, “We are prepared for any amount of water simply because our reservoir is empty. We wish the waters come straight to us and do not divert in between.”

A highly placed official from BBMB also said that Bhakra Dam could accommodate entire excess water in case there was a flash flood. “In fact, we will welcome excess water.

There is no cause for alarm, and the district authorities at Ropar have been told that. However, they have decided to stand guard. That is fine, but there is no such alarm from our side.”

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