Flood threat looms in Patiala as Ghaggar in spate
The water-level near Sarhala head of the Ghaggar river, crossing through Patiala district, has been measured at 9-ft, and the danger level is marked at 16-ft.Updated: Sep 25, 2018 10:25 IST
Flood threat is looming large over the areas situated in catchment area of Ghaggar river due to incessant showers in past three days.
The monsoon rivulets are flowing in full spate, putting the district and villager administrations on tenterhooks.
Even as the administration has issued a red alert, the officials have urged the villagers to not panic as the situation is under control.
The water-level near Sarhala head of the Ghaggar river, crossing through Patiala district, has been measured at 9-ft, and the danger level is marked at 16-ft. The water levels in Ghaggar have risen to 15-ft near Dharamheri village.
‘No reason to panic’
Deputy commissioner (DC) Kumar Amit said that the water levels rose after the Chandigarh administration opened the floodgates of the Sukhna lake. “The situation is under control. The water levels are below the danger levels,” he said.
“We are keeping a close tab on the weather conditions so that immediate preventive measures can be taken,” the DC said.
He appealed to the district populace to remain vigilant and not to believe in any rumours that are making rounds in the social media.
The DC, along with a battery of senior officials of the drainage department, toured the areas near Ghaggar, Jacob drain, Chambo Chao, and Patiala drain (Vaddi Nadi) to take stock of the situation.
Ghaggar passes through Samana, Devigarh, Sanaur and Ghanaur of Patiala district. And these were the worst hit areas, witnessing loss of property and life, due to floods in the river in 1988, 1993 and 2010.
Officials said that water levels at Samana and Patran are low but are expected to rise by Tuesday morning. Kishangarh, Kharabgarh, Bhunerheri, Ghanaur, Dharmheri, Lachu Kalan, Lachu Khurd, Mehmoodpur, Saran Kalan, Dakala Gherora and other villages situated next to Ghaggar are risk prone.
The Patiala drain is flowing below 9-ft below the danger mark. The water flow in Jacob drain, which flows through the main city, is 2-ft below danger-level.
Rapid response teams formed
The district administration has set up 24-hour flood control units at the district headquarter, and flood control rooms have been constituted in all sub-divisions.
The health department has identified 178 flood-prone villages and at least 10 rapid response teams have been established at six block primary health centres at the civil hospitals in Nabha, Samana and Rajpura.
Civil surgeon Dr Manjit Singh said 69 medical teams are prepared to operate medical camps in case of flood. He said that 10 rapid response teams have been provided with ambulance and they will provide round-the-clock services.
“Medicines, fluids, anti-venom injections, ORS, chlorine tablets, insecticides and larvicides are being stocked up at all health institutions,” he added. He said that district epidemiologist Dr Gurmeet Singh has been appointed as the nodal officer of the district control room.
The incessant showers in the past three days pose threat of excessive damage to the paddy crop, which is largely in the last stage of maturation.
Many reports of crop being submerged in knee-deep water and flattening of fields are pouring in from across district.
Chief agriculture officer (CAO) Arvinder Singh said that heavy rain at this stage will have an adverse effect on crop health.
“Farmers are hoping for no more rain. They should not panic and make immediate arrangements to drain out accumulated water from their fields,” the CAO said.
Meanwhile, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) activist Darshan Singh said the farmers are facing huge financial losses and the state government should ordered girdawaris to assess the loss. “State should initiate steps to compensate the farmers, immediately,” he said.
Waterlogging, traffic chaos
Heavy rain since over 72 hours has left almost all roads in the Royal City inundated, causing a flood-like situation on Monday. Traffic on the Sangrur-Chandigarh bypass remained affected after a portion of the flyover, near Dakala, caved in. Traffic was diverted for safety of the commuters.
Sensing gravity of the situation, the district administration has issued orders to shut all schools till September 25.
The meteorological (MeT) department recorded at least 245mm rainfall in the past three days, including 86mm on Monday. The department has predicted more showers in the coming days.
The municipal corporation (MC), Patiala, seemed helpless in controlling waterlogging. Markets, residential areas and city roads were flooded with around 3-ft water. Water entered not just in the low-lying areas but also in residential colonies situated outside the walled city.
School children and office-goers were the worst affected as they had to wade through knee-deep water to reach their respective destinations. The commercial areas wore a deserted look and many shopkeepers chose to keep their shops shut.
Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu said that teams of the drainage department are using pumping machines to drain out the waterlogged streets. “We managed to act swiftly and have deployed our teams, to keep a tab on the situation,” he said.
Rain throws life out of gear in Nabha
Heavy rain in the past three days and poor drainage system caused trouble for the Nabha residents. Traders could not open their shops due to waterlogging across city. Similar was the condition of residential areas.
Even the high-lying roads, including College Ground road, Cinema road and others, remained flooded. These areas do not usually get waterlogged.
Students, whose semester examinations are on, complained that the order to shut schools on Monday came in quite late. The school officials said that they faced a lot of difficulties in ensuring safe return the students, after the DC suddenly ordered to shut schools due to adverse weather predictions.
Dilapidated roads added to the woes and many accidents were reported. People were seen struggling to make way through Kotwali Road, Cinema road, Cantt road, PPS road, etc. “Most schools are located in these areas. Even in the past, many children have been injured while travelling through these roads,” said Akash Singla, a local.
“It seems that the city has been abandoned by the government, despite being a constituency of cabinet minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot,” said Vishal Sharma, member of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha. “Even the garbage has not been cleared in the past three days. It is floating in the rain water and is entering houses, exposing people to diseases,” he added.
Advocate Yogesh Khatri, former lawyer on panel of municipality, said there are over 900 cases of encroachments whose orders of eviction have been done by the court of deputy director (local bodies).
“Most encroachments are on 10-15 feet drains, that are meant for discharge of rainwater, causing waterlogging. But the municipality continues to be in a slumber as many Congress leaders are occupying these drains,” he added. A municipality official, pleading anonymity, said that there was a big drain — from Model Colony to Ghulad mandi colony— responsible for disposing off half of the city’s rainwater. But over 70% of it is encroached due to which, it is impossible to clean it.
“Similar is the situation of a nullah passing through Hathi Khana Colony and Dulladdi Gate. Waterlogging issue can be solved after at least 50% of the drain is evacuated,” he added.
Municipal council president Rajnish Mittal said that their employees are constantly on toes to serve the residents, despite non-stop rain. “First phase of an evacuation drive will start soon. Sensitive areas have been identified and will be evacuated on priority-basis,” he said.
(With inputs from Mohit Singla)