Flood warnings issued in Punjab, Army on alert amid heavy rains
Normal life was thrown out of gear in Punjab due to incessant rains, prompting the state government to issue red alert and order closure of educational institutions on Tuesday even as the Army remains on alert.
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) issued an advisory Monday to the Punjab government that it will release "excess" water from the Pong dam in the wake of incessant rains in the catchment area of the Beas river.
Fearing damage to kharif crops because of a widespread downpour, the state government also ordered a special 'girdawari' to assess crop damage.
Rains are likely to lash isolated places in Punjab and Haryana Tuesday, though it will recede thereafter, an official of the Chandigarh Meteorological Department said. Punjab has been witnessing widespread rains for the last two days and the downpour continued on Monday as well.
Chandigarh recorded 63.8 mm of rainfall Monday. The maximum temperature settled at 23 degrees Celsius, 10 notches below normal.
Patiala was the wettest in the region with 86 mm of a downpour, followed by Ludhiana at 57 mm.
In Haryana, Ambala recorded 53 mm of rainfall. The maximum temperature was 25.2 degrees Celsius.
Train services were also affected due to waterlogging in some districts.
Amritsar-New Delhi, Delhi-Amritsar, New Delhi-Jalandhar, New Delhi-Intercity express were canceled while Bathinda-Jammutawi and Jammutwa-Bathinda were diverted in the wake of waterlogging in Punjab's Amritsar district, the officials said.
Water-level in rivers and rivulets, including the Ghaggar, rose following rains.
In Amritsar, a large section of Mall Road near municipal corporation's office caved in while a portion of a flyover in Patiala collapsed, according to reports.
Roads in several cities, including Patiala, Ludhiana, and Amritsar were flooded.
In Haryana's Ambala district, a 45-year-old man died when the roof of his home collapsed in village Jandli, while four people were injured in Punjab's Phagwara when the roof of their house caved in due to incessant rains, officials said.
In Chandigarh, a floodgate of Sukhna lake was opened and people were asked to avoid traveling from the back side of the lake, they said.
Chairing an emergency meeting here, he asked ministers and MLAs to tour their respective areas extensively to assess the ground situation and tie up with the departments concerned for immediate redressal of hardships faced by the people.
He also directed the Food and Civil Supplies and Animal Husbandry ministers to appoint nodal officers for distribution of food packets to the affected people and dry
fodder for the animals in view of the situation.
The chief minister also asked Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) to seek assistance from the Army, the BSF, and the NDRF and other paramilitary forces, if needed.
The FCR informed the chief minister that a contingency fund to the tune of Rs 7.40 crore has been placed at the disposal of deputy commissioners to get flood protection works executed besides carrying out rescue operations.
On the possible outbreak of water-borne diseases, Amarinder Singh asked the Health Department to take preventive measures by organizing special medical checkup camps and arranging sufficient stock of medicines in this behalf.
Taking part in the deliberations, BBMB chief D K Sharma apprised the CM the
situation at Bhakhra reservoir was in control so far and they were regularly monitoring the water levels at Pong dam.
Earlier, the chief principal secretary to the CM said all deputy commissioners were
keeping a close tab over the current situation and disaster control rooms activated.
According to farmers, paddy, which is at the maturing stage, has got flattened in several areas because of rains.
"We have asked district agriculture officers to assess the damage caused by rains," Bains said.