Heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh has caused an estimated loss of Rs 20 crore to both public and private property in the last two days, with the overall losses since July 1 mounting to Rs 574 crore. A total of 25 people have died and two were reported missing in the state in rain-related incidents. It has been decided to release more water from the Bhakra Dam which is filled to capacity.
Several roads in the state continued to remain shut due to landslides triggered by heavy rain in the past two days. More than 300 vehicles, carrying tourists and locals, have been stuck since Sunday between Keylong and the Rohtang Pass and work was on to clear the landslide debris.
As per data with the state government, 22 pucca houses and 124 kaccha houses were fully damaged, while 107 pucca houses and 350 kaccha houses were partially damaged. Around 396 cow sheds and five cremation grounds were also damaged.
Also, some places in Lahaul-Spiti and Chamba districts in the hill state received the first snowfall of the season. Chamba-Pangi road was blocked due to fresh snowfall. "Generally snowfall does not take place in these areas in the month of August,’’ said a meteorological department official.
Around 150 tourists were stuck in Spiti and Chandertal and 200 in Lahaul. Some 150 people including foreign tourists and labourers were rescued by the Border Roads Organization.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the government has released Rs 15 crore to different departments for undertaking restoration work.
He directed the DC Lahaul-Spiti to ensure immediate evacuation of people and tourists stranded in the valley due to untimely snow. The water level in the Bhakra Dam reservoir was at 1681 feet against the permissible storage level of 1680 feet. The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has made efforts to restrict the release from Bhakra.
However, considering the present level of 1681 feet and the heavy inflows to the tune of more than 1 lakh cusecs coming into the reservoir, it has been decided to increase the release through spillway of Bhakra dam from 19,000 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs, in addition to the releases from turbines. This release from the spillway will be about 14 per cent of its total capacity.
The BBMB has stopped generation of power from Pong Dam. Thus, the release of 10,000 cusecs for power generation has also been stopped to minimize the flooding at Harike barrage.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Punjab, some 100 villages were affected due to the floods, of which 60 are in Jalandhar district. A major breach was reported in the Dhussi bundh at four places in Bholewal, Meowal and two other places near Phillaur. Also, due to another breach in the Sutlej, water entered several villages in Ludhiana district. Yet another breach occurred at Gidderpindi near Sultanpur Lodhi, while in Shahkot many villages were flooded.
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh announced Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures in the flood-hit regions of the state and said a special Girdawari will be conducted as soon as the water level recedes to ensure adequate compensation for the affected farmers. He made these announcements during a tour of the flood-affected areas of Rupnagar.
In Haryana, the Yamuna was flowing at 204.7 metres and its water level is expected to rise up to 207 metres as 8.28 lakh cusecs were released from Hathini Kund barrage. Several villages in Sonepat district near the Yamuna have been asked to vacate as water is expected to enter the villages. Also, nine members of a family of Garhpur Tapu village in Karnal district were rescued by an Air Force helicopter.
Also, flood relief teams of the Army rescued 15 people in various areas of Punjab and Haryana. These teams are deployed at Mirthal (Pathankot), Dinanagar (Gurdaspur), Phillaur, Nakodar, Shahkot in Jalandhar and near Karnal in Haryana.