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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Fazilka border residents bear flood fury annualy

Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar, Hindustan Times  Fazilka, September 16, 2013
First Published: 00:30 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 00:31 IST(16/9/2013)

All claims of the Fazilka administration to prepare the area to face floods are washed way every year, as destruction and submergence of villages remains routine due to the Sutlej river.

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Indeed, it remains a huge question mark on functioning of the administration that flooding continues every year. When questioned, officials are usually found clueless or in search of a new excuse to furnish before the media.

This year, 20 villages in Fazilka sub-division and 11 in Jalalabad sub-division were flooded and more than 20,000 acres were submerged. Maujam, Dona Nanka, Ghurka and Haskalan villages were the worst-hit and several schools remained closed due to the floods.

Mohar Jamsher village, encircled on three sides by Pakistan, was cut-off from the rest of the nation this year due to the floods.

In fact, the administration that claims to be working on a permanent solution to the floods issue struggled to even arrange adequate equipment for flood and relief. The situation took a turn for the worse and the National Disaster Response Force was called-in.

Flood victims and those hit by the disaster have demanded and will continue to demand a permanent solution to the mess.

Till then, the victims have demanded enhanced compensation from the Rs. 5,000 an acre for damaged crop handed-out, if the damage is more than 75 per cent.

The damage paid seems especially light when we consider that only Rs. 3,000 is paid for crop loss between 50-75% and Rs. 2,000 for 25-50% loss. No compensation is paid for damage less than 25%.

"The drainage system of the area needs to be streamlined. In the current year, more than 13 villages were submerged and 30 were submerged due to the overflow of a drainage channel," said Fazilka BJP block president Manoj Tripathi.

"A lot of money is spent on the so-called strengthening of embankments of the river Sutlej. Why is the state forest department not launching a special forest drive," said Navdeep Asija, social activist.

"A comprehensive plan worth Rs.5.32 Crore had been chalked out to permanently resolve the issue of flood fury for the residents of the area." Surjit Kumar Jiyani, Punjab Cabinet Minister and MLA Fazilka.   

"Union government should review the crop damage compensation policy by taking in view the welfare of poor farmers residing in border area" Manoj Jhinja, a local resident. 

"Had government paid in time heed towards the importance of forest and save the local Badha lake, the area could have never bear the brunt of flood. Its Ironical that instead to come forward and save the Badha Lake, Punjab government had allowed the cutting of as many as 400 full grown trees to commercially exploit the lake area. Its a man made flood." Captain (Retd) MS Bedi.

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