Residents of 12 villages in the Anandpur Sahib sub-division of Rupnagar district were forced to begin evacuation after flooding as the water level of the Sutlej rose on Saturday.
The rise was caused by an increase in the water flow into the Swan rivulet, which enters the Sutlej near Anandpur Sahib, following heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday afternoon. The rivulet carried more than 80,000 cusecs of water into the Sutlej, which normally carries 15,000 cusecs of water, leading to flooding of agricultural land at Laudhipur, Mataur, Burj, Nikkuwal, Ballowal, Hariwal, Badhal Lower and Mehandi Kalan villages.
The water also entered houses in some villages, forcing villagers to start shifting their belongings to safer places. The gushing water also washed away the sand bags placed on the embankment of the river at Laudhipur village as a temporary measure to protect the residents from flood waters, while Burj village virtually became an island with water flowing all around it.
Laudhipur residents accused the district administration of failing to take effective preventive measures. Former sarpanch Sukhdev Singh and other residents alleged that they had repeatedly cautioned the administration about the possibility of floods, but to no avail.
Rupnagar deputy commissioner Pardeep Kumar Aggarwal said water had entered the fields only at a few villages. "However, we have alerted the residents of these villages and would take steps to evacuate them, if needed," he claimed.
The water level in Bhakra dam was recorded at 1640.06 feet at 6pm on Saturday, which was about 86 feet higher than the water level on the corresponding day last year. Water inflow in the dam was 60,200 cusecs, while the outflow was 35,000 cusecs.