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Posted at: Aug 19, 2019, 7:48 AM; last updated: Aug 19, 2019, 10:23 AM (IST)

Naggal dam gives way, triggers flash floods

15 head of cattle, six houses, four bridges washed away in Mohali villages

Akash Ghai

Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 18

At least 15 head of cattle, six houses and four bridges were washed away in flash floods that hit several villages, including Chhoti Naggal, Badi Naggal, Parol and Mirzapur, and nearby areas following a major breach in the Naggal earthen dam here this morning.

Most of the residents of Chhoti Naggal, Badi Naggal and Mirzapur villages suffered losses worth several lakhs. These three villages have also been cut off following collapse of bridges connecting these to other parts of the district. Roads in the area were damaged due to flash flood fury. However, no loss of life was reported from the area.

Bhag Chand, a former panch of Chhoti Naggal and Badi Naggal villages, located 3 km away from the dam, said around 5-metre high “wall of water” came all of a sudden from the dam side and hit the area around 8 am.

“As our village is located on the foothills, the speed of water was fast. Within minutes, it flattened everything that came in its way. Around 15 head of cattle of two families and two tractors were washed away in the flash floods,” said Bhag Chand.

The houses that were located close to the hillock, where the dam is located, were the worst affected, he said.

Surinder Singh and Achchar Singh, residents of Chhoti Naggal, not only lost their houses but also eight buffaloes each in the flash floods.

During a visit to the spot, The Tribune team found that a portion of Surinder Singh’s house, where he used to tie up his cattle, was washed away. The remaining part of the house was also damaged and he had to shift his family to another house.

The story of another resident Achchar Singh was no different as he also lost his animals, house and a tractor in the flash floods. The fields, in which the corn crop was almost ready, were also badly damaged. Crops in the fields were flattened.

“I am clueless about what to do. Mainly, I sell milk to earn a livelihood. Today, I lost all my cattle,” said Achchar Singh with tears in his eyes. He said the impact of the water was so strong that his tractor, which was washed  away in the floods, was found around 100 metres away from his house. Residents said the water also washed away parts of some other houses in Badi Naggal village. Several structures, constructed in fields, were also washed away in the flash floods, they said.

According to Paras, a resident of Mirzapur village, several houses in the village were submerged in 5 ft water.

“Goods, furniture and other household items were damaged in our village, which has also been cut off due to damage to its approach road,” said Paras.

Similarly, Labh Singh, a resident of Parol village, said several houses in their village were under nearly 3-foot-deep water.

“The water came from the Naggal dam in the morning. Some parts of our house also got damaged in the flash floods,” said Labh Singh.

40-foot-long breach in dam

During a visit to the dam site, The Tribune team found a 40-foot-long breach in the earthen dam, which was constructed around eight years ago by the Soil Conversation Department, Punjab. According to officials of the department, who were present there, the dam reservoir, which is spread over several hectares, was full of water on Sunday morning.

“The reservoir is spread over several hectares and the water level was nearly 17 metre high,” claimed the officials of the department.

When The Tribune team reached there, the reservoir was completely empty.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan, who visited the area, said due to collapse of bridges, some villages, including Chhoti Naggal, Badi Naggal and Mirzapur, had been cut off from the district.

“Officials have been deputed in all such areas to extend a helping hand to the residents. Our priorities are to prevent injury and loss of human life, save livestock and evacuate people if there’s any potential danger,” said Dayalan.

The DC said he had ordered to keep tents/boats and other such paraphernalia ready in case of any emergency.

“Ensure that food and drinking water are available in the areas that have been cut off. Dry rations may be given and help of gurdwaras may be taken to get cooked meals,” said Dayalan.

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