Delhi on alert as Yamuna water level rises above danger level

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued an ‘orange alert’ in Delhi as the water level of the Yamuna river has breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres owing to incessant rains
Representational image: The Yamuna River swells up as its water level reaches near danger mark, at the Old Yamuna Bridge (Loha Pul), in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)
Representational image: The Yamuna River swells up as its water level reaches near danger mark, at the Old Yamuna Bridge (Loha Pul), in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The national capital is on alert mode as the water level of Yamuna river has already breached the danger mark. This has forced the city government and the rescue and rehabilitation teams to engage in relocating those living in low-lying areas to safer locations on a war footing. 

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued an ‘orange alert’ in Delhi as the water level of the Yamuna river has breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres owing to incessant rains in Delhi and surrounding areas. As of 8 pm on Tuesday, the level of river water at Old Railway Bridge (ORB) stands at 206.76 metres.

As per the latest forecast issued by Central Water Commission (CWC) on Tuesday at 5:30 PM, the water level at ORB is expected to be at 207 metres on Wednesday at 3 AM and is likely to further increase.

45 boats have been deployed from the Boat Club and the Irrigation and Flood Control department for awareness, evacuation and rescue work. NGOs have also been engaged for providing relief to the evacuated persons.

Road Traffic at ORB has been closed since Tuesday morning. All gates at Okhla Barrage have been kept open to release excess water so as to ensure that the water level in River Yamuna does not remain at high level for long.

All concerned District Magistrates and their sector committees are on alert mode and are working in coordination with the Irrigation and Flood Control department, Police, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and other stakeholders to deal with the flood situation and relief work.

The Delhi government has already evacuated people living in low-lying areas and shifted them to safer places at higher altitudes. Police personnel and CDVs at each such location and advisories are being issued to people to keep away from the river water.

Meanwhile, the tents set up on the orders of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were inspected. 2500 tents have been set up in 6 districts of Delhi where people are being shifted. People living in the affected areas are being shifted to these camps set up at higher places. "If the water level of Yamuna rises, the Kejriwal government is ready to deal with every situation," Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj asserted.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena paid a visit to Yamuna river and waterlogging-prone sites including Pragati Maidan Tunnel, Minto Bridge and Zakhira Underpass Tuesday morning.

Following his visits, the LG chaired a meeting with senior officials of all stakeholders including the Public Works Department, New Delhi Municipal Committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Jal Board, Irrigation and Flood Control Department and Railways, to review the situation and devise workable solutions to overcome severe waterlogging.

Saxena held another meeting with the Chairman of India Trade Promotion Organization and the Chief Secretary to review the flooding of Pragati Maidan Tunnel and issued necessary instructions to rectify the engineering faults that led to waterlogging on a priority basis. The LG will also be visiting the Pragati Maidan Tunnel site on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the rail traffic over the old Yamuna bridge in the national capital was temporarily suspended on Tuesday as the water level crossed the danger mark in the Yamuna due to heavy downpour over the past few days, officials said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Tuesday hit out at the Delhi LG VK Saxena for criticising the Delhi government over waterlogging. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Minister alleged that the LG has come out today for the purpose of politics.

"On 8th July, Delhi received 153 mm of rain but LG visited the affected areas on 11th July. Earlier, he took media everywhere in the past six months and claimed that all nalas and Yamuna were cleaned and today he denies all this. He should help the people of Delhi and not play dirty politics," he said.

The Delhi Minister said that at a time when people are dying in Himachal owing to heavy rains, the LG, instead of helping people is engaging in "dirty politics."

Earlier on Monday, Delhi Education Minister Atishi directed all regional directors, zonal directors, deputy directors, principals and vice principals of the education department to conduct physical inspections of schools. 

On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there is no flood threat in Delhi due to the rise in water level of Yamuna, following two days of heavy rain in the national capital and adjoining areas.

Heavy rainfall across the entire North Indian belt and especially in states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana have thrown normal life out of gear.

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