Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, June 28
A big portion of the Dhussi bund and berm (area along the banks) on the Sutlej was damaged at Garhi Fazal village near Mattewara in Ludhiana district last year, when the river had overflowed during the rains. However, floods were averted when a villager reached the embankment and raised an alarm after seeing the damaged portion.
However, learning no lessons from the past, no work has been done to strengthen the river banks this year. The panchayats of various villages, including Garhi Fazal, Machhiyan, Toggar and Mattewara, have written to the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner in this regard.
The sandbags placed to repair the banks at Garhi Fazal last year have now started getting damaged. The residents of nearby villages are worried that the ‘weak banks’ might lead to a difficult situation once the rains begin.
Gurnam Singh (68), a villager, said, “When a major portion of the bund and adjoining land washed away last year, axed trees and sandbags were placed to protect the remaining portion. The trees and sandbags have started getting damaged now. Monsoon is nearing but no steps have been taken to strengthen the banks. We fear there are chances of flooding if the banks are not strengthened on time”.
In the letter to the Ludhiana DC, Garhi Fazal village sarpanch Joginder Kaur said around 1-km-long portion of the river bund had become weak. She appealed to the district administration to take steps to strengthen it.
In August 2019, floods had hit some villages of Ludhiana district, when a long breach had occurred in the Dhussi bund on the Sutlej in Bholewal Qadim village. Gurcharan Singh, sarpanch of Allowal village, said the breach in the bund at Bholewal Qadim was plugged by putting in soil last year. “But there is an urgent need to strengthen the river embankment. We have requested the department concerned in this regard many times but officials of Ludhiana and Jalandhar are passing the buck over the jurisdiction. The flood threat can’t be ignored as the bund is weak. We request the government to do the needful,” he said.
According to an official of the Drainage Department, the work got delayed due to fund crunch. However, Harjot Singh, executive engineer of the Drainage Department, Ludhiana, said the tendering process had been completed and the required work at the Garhi Fazal bund and other points would be started soon. “The work will start within a few days at vulnerable points at Dulewal, Mattewara, the seed farm site near Ladhowal, Khera Bet and Manewal sites in Ludhiana district,” he added.
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