Punjab: Army, NDRF called in to plug 50-ft breach in Ghaggar river

Raakhi Jagga
An NDRF team working at the breach site in Sangrur s Phulad village Thursday. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Army and NDRF were called in on Thursday after a 50-foot breach in the embankment of the Ghaggar river in Punjab s Sangrur district left over 2,000 acres of agricultural field in the region inundated, officials said.

The breach which was at 25 ft and then increased to 50 ft late evening near Phulad village caused flooding in 2,000 acres of agricultural field, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori. The Army, NDRF and the Punjab government s disaster response teams are at the site and are trying to plug the breach, he said.

Thori said there was no immediate threat of floods to nearby villages but the administration was aware of the situation and would act as the situation demands.

Residents of some nearby villages, however, feared for the safety of their crops and livestock. Thori pointed out that the Ghaggar river was flowing almost at the danger mark of 750 feet in the district.

Over the next 24 hours, we are not expecting the level to come down which is making the task of plugging the breach more challenging, he said.

Some farmers, whose crops were flooded, said they have suffered huge losses and demanded that the government compensate them.

Though the rains stopped on Thursday, the threat of crop damage loomed over several parts of the state as thousands of acres under paddy and cotton lay submerged.

In Bathinda, rainwater had been drained out of most colonies, but the bigger cause for concern was 10,000 acres of paddy and cotton crop lying inundated in Muktsar, Mansa, Bathinda and Patiala areas. On Thursday, water had been drained out from most part of Bathinda except for Sikri Bazar. Power supply was also restored. Schools were also re-opened. In Bathinda, two persons had died in the past two days due to rain. A minor girl had died and six persons were injured after the roof of her house collapsed, while a man identified as Vijay Kumar had succumbed to electrocution. Moreover, 37 cows had also died in a cattle pound after its shed collapsed.

In Muktsar, over 100 residents of Udaykaran village had to be sent to safer places as their low-lying houses were under water. Langar was being provided to them. In Udayakaran, Thandiwala, Kokhar and a few other villages, nearly 4,000 acres of cotton crop under water. Director, Agriculture, Swantanter Kumar told The Indian Express, Cotton crop under water will be examined once water recedes. Our staff is on the job to see the damage as they have indicated that nearly 4,000 acres in Muktsar villages is under threat of crop damage.

Nearly 1,500 acres of cotton and paddy in Mansa, 2,000 acres in Bathinda and over 2,500 acres in Patiala are under water. The agriculture department said it is assessing the situation.

In Sanaur area of Patiala, water has receded but people from low-lying areas of Devigarh are still stranded. Some complained that their shanties had been damaged completely while a few others were living on the roadside and refusing to go to the relief area designated by government. Though two meals were being provided by the government, residents were struggling to get water for daily needs. A number of them were travelling to 2-3 km to fetch water in containers.

Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar Thursday said compensation will be given to farmers whose crops have suffered damage due to the recent heavy rains in various parts of the state.

The government will order a special girdwari (revenue survey) to assess the loss, he said. WITH PTI