M A I N   N E W S

Flood fear stalks HP villages
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 13
Panic caused by reports of a breach in the blockade which formed a lake on the Parchu in Tibet subsided to an extent as yet another day passed without any upheaval in the fast-flowing Sutlej. However, people of 56 villages along the banks of the river remained on tenterhooks as the Chinese authorities maintained that the lake was overflowing profusely and that the situation was still critical.

As per the latest information given by the Chinese authorities about the new water body, which they have named as “Karak” lake, water was flowing 1.8 m above the blockade, but the amount of outflow could not be measured. Further, the blockade point was inaccessible and they have sent a second team to take stock of the situation.

They also informed through diplomatic channels that a visit of an Indian team to the site would not make any sense until its own experts were in a position to size up the problem, However, they assured that Indian experts would be taken into confidence before resorting to any measure like controlled blasting to release the water.

A steady overflow could reduce the water pressure and help in stabilising the water body, particularly, if the outflow matches the inflow.

But the claim of the Chinese authorities that the lake had started overflowing profusely was being doubted, as there has been no noticeable increase in the discharge of the Parchu at Sumdoh. An actual measurement made indicated that the discharge was 25 cubic metre per second (cumecs), which was normal.

Moreover, in case of overflow, the size of the lake should have stopped increasing. However, this has not been the case and the surface area of the lake has grown marginally over the past three days.

The discharge in the Spiti river was 151 cumecs and the Sutlej 124 cumecs at Khab, their point of confluence, indicating that there has been no alarming development in the catchment.

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