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

Onlookers and commuters stand next to a flooded water channel flowing over a bridge after heavy rains at New Chandigarh. (AFP photo)

A flood-like situation prevailed in many parts of Punjab and Haryana where the Indian Air Force on Monday rescued nine persons stuck in Karnal district due to the sudden rise of water in the River Yamuna.

While the Meteorological Department said no heavy rainfall was reported in most parts of the two states on Monday morning, the two states had received heavy rains during the past three days.

Assisted by the Karnal Police, the Indian Air Force rescued nine persons including women and children who had got stuck in Karnal.

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 the 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 that 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 the 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.

In the Yamuna River, the 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. In Punjab, floods were reported from areas like Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Pathankot. Authorities have also ordered the closure of schools in Rupnagar on Monday.

The Punjab government had on Friday issued a high alert in the state after a forecast of heavy rainfall in the next 48 to 72 hours.  

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed all deputy commissioners in the state to monitor the situation closely.        

The chief minister himself is keeping close tabs on the situation, officials said.

He has instructed field officers of the revenue, drainage, health, food, and animal husbandry departments to stay alert and prepared to handle any eventuality arising out of heavy rains. 

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