Several villages in Punjab inundated after water released from Pong, Bhakra dam

Several people were trapped in their homes in Bhanam and Lower Bela villages, located near the Sutlej River, due to a strong current, villagers said.

Published: 15th August 2023 10:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2023 10:29 PM   |  A+A-


A flooded locality in Patiala, Punjab. (File photo | PTI))


HOSHIARPUR: Several villages near the Beas River in Punjab's Hoshiarpur district and the Sutlej River in Rupnagar district were inundated following the release of excess water from the Pong and the Bhakra dams, officials said on Tuesday.

Many villagers were evacuated to safety and the authorities are keeping an eye on the situation, they said.

In Gurdaspur, the district administration has also asked people living in low-lying areas and near the banks of the Beas to move to safer places.

In an advisory on Monday, the Punjab government had asked residents of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Tarn Taran districts not to venture near the Beas after it was decided that water from the Pong dam would be released.

The Bhakra dam on the Sutlej and the Pong dam on the Beas -- both in Himachal Pradesh -- are brimming after heavy rain in their respective catchment areas.

In Hoshiarpur, several farmlands in the Talwara, Hajipur, Dasuya, Tanda and Mukerian villages were flooded due to water discharge from the Pong dam reservoir, said the officials.

Water entered the low-lying villages, fields and some homes located near the Beas river, they said.

The Beal Sariana village in Hajipur block is under two-three feet of water, forcing some villagers to shift to a village gurdwara in Purochak, said the officials.

Farmlands of Patti Naam Nagar, Handowal, Ulaha, Dhade Karwal and Patti Nve Ghar villages in the Hajipur area and Changarhwan, Chakmirpur and Sathwan in Talwara block are inundated, they said.

Water also entered the fields of Mehtabpur, Mauli and Naushehra villages in the Mukerian block, they added.

Talwara SHO Hargurdev Singh said five migrant labourers were rescued after they got trapped near the Shah Nehar barrage in Talwara due to the release of water from the dam.

Another 15 labourers were rescued near Chakmirpur village, the police said.

Nine members of a family in Changharwan village, located near the river, have also been rescued.

Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Komal Mittal said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force and non-government organisations are being enlisted for relief operations.

Mittal said the evacuation work in about 15 villages is still underway and around 1,000 people have been sent to relief camps.

The relief camps have been set up at Bhangala, Atalgarh, Sariana, Gera, Motka, Mehtabpur and Harse Mansar villages.

The administration has arranged for excavators and tractor-trailers and deputed medical teams in the flood-affected areas.

It has also set up round-the-clock flood control rooms at the district and the tehsil levels, Mittal said.

The situation is being closely monitored, she said and added that no loss of life has been reported from the flood-affected areas so far.

The deputy commissioner said the Mukerian-Gurdaspur Road has been closed for vehicular traffic after getting submerged.

Traffic was diverted to Gurdaspur via Pathankot.

Arun Kumar Sidana, the chief engineer of the Beas dam in Talwara, said the inflow in Pong reservoir is 1.42 lakh cusecs and the water is being discharged in a controlled manner.

The water level in the Pong dam is currently at 1,399.65 feet. The level in the Bhakra dam was around 1,677 feet on Monday.

In Rupnagar district, about half a dozen villages, including Bela Dhyani, Bhanam, Palasi in Nangal area, were inundated following the release of excess water from the Bhakra dam.

Several people were trapped in their homes in Bhanam and Lower Bela villages, located near the Sutlej River, due to a strong current, villagers said.

Education Minister and Anandpur Sahib MLA Harjot Bains said some villages have been affected due to the release of water from the Bhakra dam.

Bains said the people are being evacuated to safer places and urged against any kind of panic.

After heavy rain lashed Himachal Pradesh over the past two days, the excess water had to be released from the Bhakra dam for its safety, Bains said in a video message.

"I am on the ground. Due to the release (of water) from the Bhakra dam, some villages have been severely affected in my constituency. Please don't panic or trust rumours. We are evacuating people in danger zones. The district administration and the NDRF are offering full assistance," Bains said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In Gurdaspur, the district administration has directed the residents of Chechia Chorian, Pakhowal, Kherha, Dalelpur, Padana, Chhina Bet, Nadala, Jagatpur Kalan, Kohlian and Khariaan villages to move to safety amid a rise in the Beas' water level.

Deputy Commissioner Himanshu Mahajan asked people not to panic and added that the administration is ready to deal with any situation. He said people can also use the helpline to seek assistance.

Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma on Monday held a meeting with all deputy commissioners via videoconferencing to discuss the situation and asked them to be prepared to deal with any situation and set up relief camps, if necessary.


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