Ludhiana braces for record Sutlej flow downstream from Ropar

Raakhi Jagga
A flooded village in Ropar district on Sunday. (Express Photo)

Villages along the Sutlej river in several districts, including Ropar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, are on flood alert after 2.4 lakh cusecs of water was released from Ropar Headworks in the Sutlej river. This water will cross Ludhiana district around midnight, therefore 60 villages have been asked to stay alert.

R P Singh, Executive Engineer, Drainage Department, who looks after Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur circles said: In the past 4-5 years, during the Monsoon season, we have seen the maximum water release up to one lakh cusecs only. Hence, it is a record release in the past five years. Though, situation is under control as of now, but we have to stay alert and hence all the officers are in fields and even villagers have been told to stay awake at midnight.

While it had rained heavily in Punjab Saturday, Sunday remained dry. But due to opening of flood gates of Bhakra, the situation is under watch.

By Sunday evening, water level had started receding at Ropar Headworks, confirmed R P Singh, adding that it was a good sign . At Phillaur Headworks, 60,000 cusecs is flowing downstream as of now.

On Sunday morning, Cabinet Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal visited areas along the Sutlej to review the preventive measures.

Ashu while talking with The Indian Express said, There is no need to panic and it (river) will pass through Sutlej safely. All the bundh points on river are intact, sand bags, stones and other safety measures have been supplied at the dhussi bundh points. We have not even asked any villager to evacuate as situation is under control compared to other districts.

Ashu was accompanied by MLA Sanjay Talwar, Mayor, Municipal Corporation Ludhiana, Balkar Singh Sandhu, Commissioner Kanwal Preet Kaur Brar, SDM, Ludhiana (West), Amarinder Singh Malhi and other officials.

Subsequently, Deputy Commissioner Aggarwal held a meeting with the senior officers at the Bachat Bhawan here. He said that the negligence shown by any officer or employee would not be tolerated at all in the prevention of floods and any emergency.

He said that the Meteorological Department has issued a warning that heavy rains were likely in many parts of Punjab over the next few days.

When asked if there was any plan to evacuate villagers as it was being done in Ferozepur, Ropar, Nokodar areas, Aggarwal said, As of now the situation in Ludhiana is under control. All the points of Sutlej river are strengthened and water is within the banks of river. Hence, we have not asked for evacuation as of now, though they are on alert.

Emergency measures kick in

Ludhiana DC on Sunday directed all departmental officers/employees not to leave the headquarters without prior approval until further orders and also keep their mobile phones open for 24 hours. All SDMs/tehsildars/district revenue officers (DROs) have been to ensure that the flood control rooms set up in the tehsil headquarters are functional. Besides, it must be ensured that the control room numbers are turned on and manned at all times.

Executive Engineer, Drainage, Ludhiana, was instructed to take special care of the 27 points checked during flood inspection and alert in case any immediate action is required. SDMs/tehsildars/naib tehsildars have been asked to visit these 27 points and file reports. Further, the district administration has decided to monitor the Sutlej river for 24 hours.

Aggarwal said that the irrigation department would ensure that the distributaries are cleaned to prevent damage to crops in case of flooding. Municipal Corporation and local bodies officials have been instructed to be ready to drain out area in case of heavy rainfall. All Tehsildars/BDPOs have been directed to instruct patwari/panchayat secretaries to remain present in their respective areas.