Bhakra water level rises, flood threatens Punjab, Haryana


Chandigarh : With the water level in the Bhakra Dam reservoir increasing steadily, Punjab and Haryana areas adjoining the Satluj river continued to be under the threat of floods for the fourth consecutive day.

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Water level in Himachal Pradesh’s 225-metre-high Bhakra Dam reservoir reached 1,673.46 feet by late Monday evening and it was rising at an average of one foot every 24 hours.

This earthen dam can safely store water up to the maximum height of 1,680 feet and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is releasing nearly 40,000 cusecs water daily, since Aug 21, to maintain the level.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and accordingly releasing the excess water into the Satluj river. There is no need to press the panic button as the overall situation is still under control,” a BBMB spokesperson told IANS.

“Due to heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh, the inflow is between 75,000 and 80,000 cusecs,” he added.

BBMB is crucial for water supply and power generation for the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The Bhakhra Dam is located nearly 20 km from Nangal town in Punjab. The dam on the Sutlej river is in Himachal Pradesh along the hill state’s border with Punjab.

Unprecedented release of water into the Satluj poses a flood threat in the low-lying areas of Ropar, Ludhiana and Ferozepur districts and in the Sikhs’ religiously important towns of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib in Punjab.

Punjab’s chief engineer (irrigation) Amarjit Singh Dullat said: “We have made all arrangements to undertake rescue operations in case of floods. So far the situation is normal. It all depends on rains in the catchment areas in Himachal Pradesh.”

“Alerts have been issued in all vulnerable areas and senior officials are closely monitoring the developments,” he added.

In the neighbouring Haryana state, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Sonepat, Panipat, Faridabad and Palwal districts are also facing an immediate threat of floods. The Yamuna river is flowing near danger mark in the state.

“So far, there has been no loss of any property and human life due to overflowing water of the Yamuna river. But crops in some villages in Yamunanagar district have been damaged by the silt left by the receding water,” Haryana’s engineer-in-chief (irrigation) Harmail Singh said.

“There was a discharge of nearly 400,000 cuseces in the Yamuna river from Hathini Kund Barrage (HKB) Sunday but it was significantly reduced to only 78,000 cusecs Monday. We are hoping the situation to get normal in the coming hours,” he added.

Last month, nearly a dozen villages of Punjab and Haryana were severely affected by floods. Over 50 people were killed.