Weather Clears in Rain-Battered Punjab, Haryana; Authorities Step Up Relief Efforts

Chandigarh: The rain ebbed on Tuesday in Haryana and Punjab after three days of incessant downpour, which left behind a trail of destruction in several parts of the twin states where properties worth crores were damaged and nine lives lost. The governments in both states have stepped up efforts to provide relief to the affected people.

On Tuesday morning, the weather was clear at most places in the region, which brought relief to the people after the incessant downpour inundated homes and caused extensive damage to crops and vegetables in many districts.

Officials said relief shelters have been set up in the affected districts, including Rupnagar, Patiala, Mohali, Ambala and Panchkula, in the two states.
Chief ministers of the two states are closely monitoring the situation, they said.

In the worst-hit Rupnagar district of Punjab, several people joined hands with the administration to extend a helping hand to those in need.

"It is the indomitable spirit of Punjabis to rise to the occasion whenever any crisis confronts them by helping each other," said Parminder Singh, who was reaching out to affected people in the district.

Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma held a high-level meeting to review the situation caused by heavy rains in the state and conduct relief operations effectively in affected areas.

Special Chief Secretary to the chief minister A Venu Prasad, DGP Gaurav Yadav and representatives of the Army and NDRF were present in the meeting.
Verma said protecting people's lives was the top priority of the government.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd chairman informed the meeting that power supply would be repaired and restored immediately in the affected areas, an official statement said.

Officials of the Water Resources Department said the water level in Bhakra Dam was 1624.14 feet, while its capacity is 1,680 feet.

The water level in Pong Dam was 1,360.04 feet, against its capacity of 1,390 feet, while the water level in Ranjit Sagar Dam was 1712.64 feet, against its capacity of 1731.99 feet, the statement said.

The meeting was informed that two breaches found in Dhusi Bund on the Sutlej River have been plugged, it said.

Five NDRF teams are deployed in Rupnagar district, three in SAS Nagar (Mohali district), two in Patiala and one each in Jalandhar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar to lead rescue operations, the statement said.

Since the level of the Yamuna river at Haryana's Hathini Kund Barrage was rising constantly, people in adjacent low-lying areas have been asked to stay away from the riverbank, the officials said.

On Tuesday at 9 am, around 3.21 lakh cusecs of water was discharged from the barrage, the officials said. This is reportedly the highest quantity of water released from the barrage this year.

Many villages in Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat and Sonepat districts, and those adjoining the Yamuna river have been put on alert.
There has been a breakdown in the power and water supplies in some of the worst-affected areas of Punjab and Haryana but authorities were working to restore them.

Key highways, including the Ambala-Ludhiana national highway, were temporarily closed for vehicular traffic on Tuesday due to waterlogging following heavy rainfall in Haryana and Punjab, officials said.

Ambala Deputy Commissioner Shaleen said the decision to temporarily close the highway was taken as a stretch of the road was inundated.

Other key highways -- Ambala-Chandigarh and Ambala-Hisar -- have also been temporarily closed for vehicular traffic since Monday evening. Officials said water, coming through agricultural fields, was flowing on the main carriageway.

Normal vehicular movement was also adversely affected on some other highways, including state highways, in many districts of the twin states.

On Tuesday morning, some residents of Mohali's Aerocity held a protest on the airport road, demanding the immediate restoration of the water and power supplies.

"For the past few days, we are without water or electricity supply. We have been requesting the authorities concerned but nothing has been done so far," said an elderly resident who was part of the protest.

In some other affected districts too, including Punjab's Rupnagar and Haryana's Ambala, people were facing problems related to power and water.

On Monday, officials said nine rain-related deaths had been reported in the two states.

The Punjab government has ordered the closure of schools till July 13 while in Chandigarh, schools will be closed till Thursday.

Haryana too has ordered the closure of schools in some of its worst-affected regions till Wednesday. In other places, the state government has left it to the deputy commissioners to take a call on the matter.

Punjab Police chief Gaurav Yadav on Monday said 15 NDRF teams and two units of the SDRF have been deployed to carry out evacuation and rescue operations.

Meteorological department officials said there will be light to moderate rainfall at scattered places in Punjab for the next 48 hours.

( Source : PTI )
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