‘Will canalise rivers to tackle floods with World Bank, ADB help’: Punjab CM
Chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Punjab government will canalise all the rivers with technical support from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Talking to the media persons after an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding in Shahkot and Sultanpur Lodhi sub-divisions of Jalndhar and Kapurthala districts, the CM announced a project to realign river streams and courses, besides strengthening and widening of embankments for a permanent solution to the problem of floods.
He also promised due compensation to the affected farmers as a special ‘girdwari’ (loss assessment) of crops will be carried out once the water recedes. The state government, Amarinder said, will stop all development works to fund the flood relief operations and compensation if the Centre does not release them adequate grants.
The CM had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, seeking a special flood relief package for the state. Dedicated village relief teams will be sent to the affected areas, he added.
The teams will comprise officials of the health, civil supply and animal husbandry departments, and ensure regular and timely supply of food and medicines for all affected families besides fodder for their livestock.
Rejects Oppn claims of illegal mining
The CM rejected the opposition parties’ claims that illegal mining along the Sutlej resulted in the situation, saying officers are vigilantly keeping tabs on such activities. Defending the functioning of the Bakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), he said breaches in the Sutlej banks resulted from the release of excess water from the Bhakra dam due to heavy rains in the catchment areas.
Nothing will be allowed to hamper the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, and his government is preparing to celebrate the historic occasion in a befitting manner, the CM said.
Amarinder, who earlier conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas of SBS Nagar and Ludhiana districts, inspected the Sutlej breach site at Gidderpindi village in Jalandhar district. For the first time, the Bhakra dam, which normally gets filled to its permissible storage level of 1,680 feet by September, was overflowing in August, he said. The CM ordered the drainage department to immediately identify potential breach points and plug those on priority basis.