Flood-like situation in parts of Punjab, Haryana; IAF rescues 9 persons

(Eds: updates with Punjab CM visit's to Rupnagar district) Chandigarh, Aug 19 (PTI) A flood-like situation prevailed in many parts of Punjab and Haryana after heavy rains over the past few days, with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday taking stock of the situation in Rupnagar district and the IAF rescuing nine people from flooded areas in Karnal. People were also evacuated from some parts of Ludhiana district after flood waters entered 10 villages, officials said.While the Meteorological Department said no heavy rainfall was reported in most parts of Punjab and Haryana on Monday morning, the two states had received heavy rains during the past three days.Singh toured the affected Rupnagar district to assess the damage where he spoke to the people impacted by the flooding. We are committed to taking swift action and will work on restoring to normalcy at the earliest. Priority is to save lives of people who are affected by flooding, he told reporters at Rupnagar.He said once the flood waters recede 'special girdwari' (revenue survey) will be ordered to assess the damage caused.Authorities had ordered closure of schools on Monday in Rupnagar in view of the flooding in many parts of the district. The chief minister was accompanied by chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar, Cabinet Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Anandpur Sahib MP and former Union Minister Manish Tewari, among others.In Haryana, the Indian Air Force rescued nine persons stuck in Karnal district due to sudden rise of water in the River Yamuna.Assisted by the Karnal Police, the IAF rescued nine persons including women and children.The rescue operation was carried out by the IAF in the early hours of Monday despite adverse weather, Haryana's Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk said.Keeping in view the alarming situation due to release of 2.4 lakh cusecs of water from Ropar headwork, Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar, Varinder Kumar Sharma has ordered the stationing of companies of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) at vulnerable points in Shahkot, Nakodar and Phillaur.The Deputy Commissioner, who along with senior police officials inspected the level of water at Phillaur bridge and at village Danewal in Shahkot, on Monday said 50 expert swimmers and divers of NDRF have been stationed at Shahkot. 42 expert swimmers and divers of SDRF have been stationed at Nakodar Sub Division. The Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner said Army authorities have also been requested to station their columns at all these sub divisions in the district so that they could help the administration in case of any need. Rescue centres have been established in every sub division where requisite provisions of food and shelter have been made. Besides, medical teams have been deployed at all centres for providing medical assistance to the evacuees.Sharma had earlier asked the sub-divisional magistrates Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot to get 81 low-lying and flood-prone villages evacuated to save them from fury of floods.Jalandhar district authorities have asked people living near the swollen Sutlej River and low-lying areas to remain alert following the release of excess water from the Bhakra Dam.Water of River Sutlej entered ten villages when Dhussi Bandh breached near village Bholapur in Ludhiana early this morning. The villagers were evacuated by the administration.Water level had risen dangerously at the Hathni Kund barrage in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana on Sunday evening.Haryana's Department of Revenue and Disaster Management issued a high flood warning on Sunday alerting deputy commissioners of Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Faridabad and Palwal.The Yamuna River discharge at 6 pm on Sunday was 8,28,072 cusecs, which is categorised as a "high flood" situation, officials said.There were reports that rain water had entered a village in Yamunanagar on Monday and people were being evacuated.All the deputy commissioners of the five Haryana districts have been requested to keep a close watch on the situation and keep their disaster management resources on high readiness to tackle any adverse situation. The Punjab chief minister has also directed all deputy commissioners in the state to monitor the situation closely. The chief minister himself is keeping a close tab on the situation, officials said. He has instructed field officers of revenue, drainage, health, food and animal husbandry departments to stay alert and be prepared to handle any eventuality arising out of heavy rains.PTI SUN CHS DVDV