Two fresh breaches in the Ghaggar river and one in the Narwana canal in different parts of Punjab today submerged scores of villages and inundated several acres of agricultural land in the state's Mansa district, an official said.
"Two new breaches have surfaced in the Ghaggar river near Makroad and Chandu and one breach has occurred in the Narwana canal. So far, the floods have affected 2.5 lakh acres of farm land, disturbing the lives of over 3 lakh people of 763 villages of Punjab," the state government spokesperson spokesman said.
Chief Engineer(Irrigation) Amarjit Singh Dullat told IANS,"Due to fresh breaches many villages have been submerged in water. Our officials are trying to fill this breach but they are facing difficulties due to the heavy flow of water."
"Rescue work is on across the flood-affected areas in the state. There are some places where water level has receded, while at some, water is still overflowing at alarming levels," he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who visited some flood-hit villages today, approved the contingency plans for flood-hit farmers.
"Out of the flood-hit 2.5 lakh acres of farmland, situation of crops in 1.5 lakh acres is grave. As per initial estimates, total crop loss to the farmers could be around Rs.480 crores," he said.
Badal suggested that agriculture department advise farmers to sow short maturity paddy varieties.
"RH10 hybrid variety gets matured in 110 days, Sugandh 2 & 3 take 120 to 125 days, whereas PUSA 44, which is normal sown by the farmers, takes 145-150 days for maturing. To save time, the possibility of direct plantation of paddy will be explored," he said.
One more person was killed in Sangrur district late Saturday due to heavy floods. This took the death toll in Punjab in this week's flooding to 22. So far, 33 people have lost their lives in flood-affected areas in Punjab and Haryana.
Badal also appealed the central government to provide liberal aid to the state's farmers so that they can re-sow their crops to fulfill the national target of paddy production. He also announced enhanced compensation to flood-hit farmers.
"After assessing the actual loss, farmers who have lost over 70 percent of the crop would get Rs.5,000 per acre whereas in the case of loss between 50 to 70 percent the compensation would be Rs. 3,000 per acre and for below 50 percent loss, the compensation would be Rs.2,000 per acre," he said.
"In the case of loss of human life in the floods, Rs. 100,000 compensation has already been disbursed to 21 families. In case of loss of livestock, a compensation of Rs.10,000 per animal will be provided," he said.
As per official records, 234 villages of Patiala, 200 villages of Ludhiana, 190 villages of Fathegarh Sahib, 58 villages of Roopnagar, 55 vilages of Mohali and 26 villages of Sangrur districts have been affected by 32 breaches in Ghaggar and Tangri in the last few days. As many as 1,966 km of roads have been damaged or washed away in the floods.
Many places in Punjab like Ludhiana and Patiala received moderate rainfall today in the morning. Met officials have predicted heavy rainfall accompanied with thunderstorm in various parts of Punjab Monday.
Neighbouring Haryana, which is gradually moving towards normalcy after the flood menace, also received light to moderate rainfall today. Various villages of Fatehabad district, in Haryana, were also inundated due to overflowing in the Ghaggar river.
"There was rain in the morning, but it had not affected the relief work that is going on in Ambala. We are providing food and other aid to the flood victims, the situation is totally under control," said Ambala Deputy Commissioner Samir Pal Srow.
Haryana's Ambala, Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts were adversely affected by the flood this week.
Railway officials said that train traffic on the Ambala-Delhi section, which links Delhi with Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir, was running normally today.
"Though some trains are delayed, but there is no major problem in their operations," a railway official at Ambala said.