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Floods in Punjab, Haryana; IAF rescues 9 people

twitter-logoPTI | August 19, 2019 | Updated 21:01 IST

(Eds: Adds details, fresh intro) Chandigarh, Aug 19 (PTI) The Army, IAF and NDRF carried out rescue operations on Monday as floods hit parts of Punjab and Haryana, putting lives at risk and damaging crops over hundreds of acres. The Punjab government declared the situation in affected areas a natural calamity after a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to review the situation. Singh, who had earlier toured Rupnagar district, also allotted Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures. Nearly 1,000 stranded people, including about 700 from Punjab’s Rupnagar district, were rescued in the two states, officials said. The Army’s Western Command has deployed flood relief teams at Mirthal in Pathankot district, Dinanagar in Gurdaspur and Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot in Jalandhar, and near Haryana’s Karnal, a press release said. The water level at Bhakra dam crossed the permissible limit of 1,680 feet by a foot, prompting the BBMB authorities to release excess water through spillway gates, officials said here. Assisted by Haryana police, the Indian Air Force faced bad weather to rescue nine people of a family, at 2.45 am on Monday, according to Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk. Haryana's Department of Revenue and Disaster Management has issued a high flood warning, alerting deputy commissioners of Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad and Palwal districts. There were reports that rain water had entered some village in Yamunanagar on Monday, and people were being evacuated. Haryana minister Karan Dev Kamboj visited flood-affected areas in Karnal district’s Indri area. People were also evacuated from some villages in Punjab’s Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Rupnagar and Ferozepur districts after flood waters entered their homes. Over 80 people were rescued by a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Phillaur sub-division in Jalandhar district, where the Sutlej breached its embankment at four places. Eight trains were cancelled on Ferozepur-Jalandhar City section as water flowed above the danger mark at a bridge between Gidarpindi and Makhu, railway officials said in Ferozepur. In Haryana, the water level had risen dangerously at the Hathni Kund barrage in Yamuna Nagar on Sunday evening. But the water started receding on Monday. Haryana's Department of Revenue and Disaster Management has issued a high flood warning, alerting deputy commissioners of Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad and Palwal. There were reports that rain water had entered a village in Yamunanagar on Monday, and people were being evacuated. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called the flood situation “unprecedented”. He said a special crop loss assessment will be conducted to ensure adequate compensation for the affected farmers. Singh said 696 people had been rescued from 71 villages so far. “We are committed to taking swift action and will work on restoring normalcy at the earliest. The priority is to save lives of people who are affected by the flooding,” he told reporters in Rupnagar. Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal demanded compensation for the flood-affected families in Punjab. Party president Sukhbir Singh Badal slammed the state government for being in “deep slumber” and not making arrangements in advance to deal with the floods. Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma said rescue centres have been set up in every sub-division, stocked with food and manned by medical teams. Meteorological Department officials said light to moderate rain is likely at isolated places in the two states on Tuesday, they said. PTI SUN CHS ASH ASH

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