Desilting pending, no lessons learnt from last year’s flood fury - Hindustan Times
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Desilting pending, no lessons learnt from last year’s flood fury

By, Jalandhar
Jun 11, 2024 06:24 AM IST

AAP Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal and independent MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi Rana Inder Partap Singh have written to officials for desilting under the railway overbridges, mainly situated over Sutlej in Gidderpindi village of Jalandhar, and Goindwal Sahib railway bridge over Beas river.

A year after floods wreaked havoc in parts of Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts, the state irrigation and drainage department and the district administration seem to have taken no lesson. The work related to desilting of the riverbeds of Sutlej and Beas has not been carried so far. Moreover, the strengthening of dhusi bundh, which breached at multiple locations last year, is yet to be started. Last year, the water entered over 20 villages of Jalandhar and 20 villages of Kapurthala on July 7.

During floods last year, the water entered over 20 villages of Jalandhar and 20 villages of Kapurthala on July 7.
During floods last year, the water entered over 20 villages of Jalandhar and 20 villages of Kapurthala on July 7.

AAP Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal and independent MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi Rana Inder Partap Singh have written to senior officials of the state department of water resources to initiate desilting under the railway overbridges, mainly situated over Sutlej in Gidderpindi village of Jalandhar, and Goindwal Sahib railway bridge over Beas river. Both leaders stated that the authorities concerned should at least visit the area to assess the present day situation so that immediate measures could be taken for desilting.

Seechewal said obstruction in the water flow under the railway bridges was one of the main reasons behind floods in these areas situated in and around dhusi bundh. “It is really appalling that the tenders for the work were issued by the state government last year but desilting hasn’t been carried out so far. There is no shortage of funds but nothing has been done till date for the reasons better known to the administration,” he said.

Seechewal said chief minister Bhagwant Mann, during his visit to flood-affected areas on July 14, had directed the administration to compete the work related to desilting and strengthening dhusi bundh within four months but no action was taken.

Meanwhile, the Sultanpur Lodhi MLA also submitted a list of over a dozen vulnerable points where dhusi bundh needs to be strengthened. He also pressed for the start of desilting work of the Beas riverbed, especially under the Goindwal Sahib bridge.

“Presently, the water flow in Beas crosses through only 25% of the bridge area, while 75 per cent is blocked with silt. In the present situation, hardly 10,000 cusecs of water can pass through this bridge. During the rainy season, the water flow will rise to over two lakh cusecs,” he said.

Singh added that the authorities must understand that the issue requires a long-term planning for months instead of making strategies 15 days before the onset of monsoon. “Who will be responsible for any damage in case flood hits again this year? Last year too, the villagers bore the brunt of poor planning,” he added.

Meanwhile, superintending engineer (irrigation) Gurpinder Singh Sandhu said the work pertaining to removal of sand had been started at the Gidderpindi railway bridge in Jalandhar but it was stopped after local farmer unions came out with some apprehensions. “We restarted the work a week ago but had to stop after the Sutlej’s water level rose. We are waiting for the flow and the level of water to recede to clear the obstructions under the bridge. The contractors have been directed to speed up the work,” he said.

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