Ghaggar fury: Patiala, Sangrur brace for monsoon

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Updated on Jun 25, 2020 09:27 PM IST
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ByNavrajdeep Singh and Avtar Singh, Patiala/sangrur

After the Ghaggar river wreaked havoc by flooding over 100 villages in Patiala and Sangrur districts last year, both district administrations have braced themselves to tame the river in this year’s monsoon.

Taking lessons from last year’s devastation, the authorities have swung into action ensuring completion of temporary jacketing and strengthening of the river’s embankments before the water level starts rising in catchment areas due to rain.

In July 2019, agricultural fields spread over 30,000 acre in Patiala and Sangrur got submerged in Ghaggar water, while the villagers residing in the vicinity of the river had to shift their belongings and livestock to safer places.

In the absence of firm embankments and other flood control measures, the river makes situation worrisome every year, especially during monsoon.

Sangrur deputy commissioner (DC) Ramvir said, “Repair and strengthening projects worth Rs 7 crore are underway in district for Ghaggar and other seasonal water channels.” He added that all weak points of the river have been strengthened by the administration with the help of MGNREGA workers.

Harjit Singh, sarpanch of Sangrur’s Phulad, which witnessed 150ft long breach last year, said, locals and administration are regularly trying to strengthen the banks of Ghaggar, however, work has been stalled since a few days due to strike by the MGNREGA workers.

Patiala DC Kumar Amit said special meetings with top officials of drainage and irrigation department have convened to tap sensitive points in Ghaggar.

“Work related to strengthening of embankments and stone bedding especially in Sanaur and Patran is on. Moreover, we have stacked over 70,000 sandbags to deal with sudden breaches or other emergency situations,” the Patiala DC said.

The areas include Samana, Patran, Devigarh, Sanaur and Ghanaur in Patiala, and Khanauri and Moonak in Sangrur. These areas had seen huge damages of life and property due to floods in 1988, 1993, 2010 and 2019.

Superintending engineer of the drainage department Devinder Singh said that the work is going on round-the-clock as earlier it got delayed due to lockdown.

GHAGGAR CHANNELISATION PROJECT IN A LIMBO

The project related to channelisation of Ghaggar river has became the prey of dispute between Punjab and Haryana.

Under the project, the river will be jacketed up to 40km from Khanauri to Karail in Sangrur. The first phase of the project, from Khanauri to Makrour Sahib (covering 22.45km), was completed in 2010.

However, the second phase of 17.5km from Makror Sahib to Karail (which touchd the neighbouring state), has been stalled after the Haryana government refused to give a no objection certificate to the Punjab government to completing the project.

Harpal Singh, a resident of Makraur Sahib village, said the breach has become a routine affair for villages around Ghaggar. Once there is a breach, it destroys crop in 12-15 villages, he said.

“The Punjab and Haryana governments should resolve the matter amicably and find a permanent solution to the problem,” he added.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022