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No fresh rain; flood-like situation continues in Punjab, Haryana

twitter-logoPTI | August 20, 2019 | Updated 22:42 IST

(Eds: Adding details) /R Chandigarh, Aug 20 (PTI) Water started receding in many places in Punjab and Haryana with no fresh spell of rainfall on Tuesday, as teams of the army and the NDRF continued to carry out rescue operations. With heavy rains over past few days causing extensive damage including crops and property, the Punjab government estimated Rs 1,700 crore worth of damage caused by deluge in the state. Speaking to reporters in Mohali, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said: "The state administration is fully geared to meet any eventuality and will safeguard the lives of the people at all costs." Asked about the damage caused in the state by the floods, the chief minister said: "It was estimated to be around Rs 1,700 crore." With rise in the Yamuna river in Haryana after release of 8.28 lakh cusecs of water from the Hathnikund barrage in Yamunanagar, the state authorities in Haryana said river water would reach Delhi by Tuesday evening and the Delhi government had already been alerted about this. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar directed all the deputy commissioners of the affected districts to make necessary arrangements to deal with any adverse situation caused by rising water level in the Yamuna. Khattar spoke over phone with the deputy commissioners of Yamunanagar, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Sonipat, giving them instructions to extend all kinds of assistance to people affected due to heavy rains and floods in these districts, an official spokesperson said. Directions had been issued to evacuate people in the affected areas to safer places. A flood-like situation continued to prevail in many parts of both states after heavy rains over the past few days, although the water level has started receding in some of the affected areas, officials said. Many villages in Ludhiana, Rupnagar and Jalandhar remained inundated because of breaches in earthen dams of the Sutlej river in Punjab. There was no report of rains on Tuesday in any part of Punjab and Haryana. The weather was clear in most parts of both states, an official of the meteorological department said. Following heavy rains in past few days and release of excess water from the Bhakra dam, the swollen Sutlej river and its tributaries had inundated villages in several areas, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Rupnagar, causing extensive damage to crops especially paddy and homes in low-lying areas. Rescue operations were being carried out in the affected villages by the teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), which were assisted by district authorities in affected areas, officials said. In Jalandhar, the deputy commissioner and the senior superintendent of police took stock of the situation in Mandala village, where people were being rescued with the help of the NDRF, officials said, adding that boats were pressed into service to take stranded villagers out of flooded areas. In Jalandhar alone, 30,000 acres of land submerged in more than 50 villages, officials said. The army was also called in to expedite the work of plugging the breaches in earthen dams of Sutlej river at Phillaur and Lohian. Jalandhar authorities said the help of the Indian Air Force would be taken for airdropping food packets on Wednesday morning at the affected places. District authorities in affected areas have set up relief camps in order to take out stranded villagers to safer places, officials said, adding that all the arrangements including food and water had been made available there. The army also rescued stranded people in Zira in Ferozepur and Sultantpur Lodhi in Kapurthala districts, official said. Meanwhile, the Bhakra Beas Management Board authorities said they were hopeful of restricting the release of excess water through spillway gates in the wake of lesser inflows. They said the release of excess water was likely to be reduced from 41,000 cusecs at present to 20,000 cusecs in the next few days. Partnering states Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan held a meeting with the BBMB authorities to review the situation. "The water level in Bhakra was 1,680.50 feet on Tuesday," official said adding that the water level would be brought down to 1,676 feet in next few days. PTI CHS SUN HMB

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