More than 300 Punjab villages marooned by flood waters, waiting for relief

SATINDER BAINS | August 21, 2019 04:00 PM

CHANDIGARH: More than 300 villages in Punjab were worst effected by flash floods caused by water released from Bhakra Dam during last one week. Thousands of people who were marooned have been waiting for the relief but hardly any help is extended to them by the state government.

Punjab government was ill prepared to prevent the floods and district authorities have failed to rise to occassion due to lack of expetise and resources. The Army and NDRF jawans who were called by administration to evacuate people were also not well equipped and they have shiortage of boats and material to plug the breaches. It is the local people of nearby villages who are providing food and shelter to the flood effected villages.

The worst effected districts are Rupnagar, Nawanshehar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Ferozepur and Ludhiana. Large number of vilalges were cut off from the main land and no help could be sent to them so far. Chief Minister said that most of the houses damaged were built on bed of dead rivulets. The opposition is raising questions on present and previous government of Parkash Singh Badal who allowed illegal mining and construction of illegal colonies on dead rivulets. Many sand mines were not auctioned and sand culminated on the bed of rivers thus reducing the depth of water course.

The authorities had ordered to vacate 300 villages but in many villages people failed to move out in time and get trapped in floods.The cattle heads have washed away in the floods and reached far away places. Social media is helping to trace the lost cattle heads.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had visited some flood effected villages in Ropar district. He said that all help would be provided to the effected people. However people are complaining laxity on the part of district administration.  Accordint to initial estimates a loss of Rs.1700 crore is expected due to floods. The crops in flood effected areas were completely damaged.

The reports said that 80 villages were flooded in Shahkot and Sultanpur Lodhi area. More than 20 vilalges are effected in Lohian block in Jalandhar district.Two dozed villages are facing flood fury in Rupnagar district. The road network in Rupnagar district is damaged in Nurpurbedi block.Seven villaes in Ferozepur district were flooded after breach in river on Pakistan side.

The people of Punjab were forced to face flodds despite the fact that Punjab has received deficient monsoon. The heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh was cause of floods. The Bhakra Beas Management Board(BBMB) has stored water in Bhakra Dam upto 1680 meters and opened the flood gates. It is understood that BBMB management was no expecting heavy rain fall in catchment areas and they continued storing water during early rains. Had they been releasing water in proportion from the begining, the present situation would not have arrived.

Previously floods had caused heavy damage in Punjab in 1991 and 2008. Everytime Punjab government has failed to protect the people of Punjab from fury of floods.

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