Flood fear looms large in villages along Ghaggar - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Flood fear looms large in villages along Ghaggar

Flood fear looms large in villages along Ghaggar

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 7

Before the onset of every monsoon, villagers residing along the banks of the Ghaggar, a seasonal river, ensure that they have enough stock of ration and drinking water in case of floods. The Ghaggar terrorises hundreds of villages along its banks in three districts of Punjab.

With the Irrigation Department yet to complete the repair of its banks and de-silting work, the villagers are on their toes fearing floods.

It has been termed as the ‘River of sorrow’ due to the occasional floods it has caused in the past over a decade. Monsoon rains expected this week onwards have left the residents of nearby villages along the banks of the Ghaggar a worried lot. While the water level is below the danger mark as of now, villagers fear worst if it rains more in the coming few days. Villagers say that the work in certain areas is still to be carried out and in case of rising water level, fields and villages will bear the brunt.

Floods during heavy monsoon are a regular norm in these areas with loss to both life and property after heavy inflow of water in the Ghaggar, which then floods nearby villages. While the district administration and Irrigation Department have started some de-silting work to clear its bed, heavy rains in the hills, coupled with illegal encroachments alongside its banks, are hampering the work.

“We are never safe living here (near Ghaggar), but there is nothing much we can do other than crib. Politicians have come, announced to solve the problem many times but nothing concrete has been done. Floods can spoil our lives anytime during monsoon,” said Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Samana. “While Haryana has raised a concrete wall to save its villages, Punjab needs to do something similar to save its residents. The fear of floods always looms large on all the villages and in case of heavy rains, the damage would be too much to deal with,” he said.

Flowing from the Shivalik hills, this seasonal river passes through the districts of Patiala, Sangrur and Mansa, where it causes maximum damage during monsoonal floods. In 2010, floods by this river had caused a huge loss to thousands of residents in Patiala and Sangrur. Already the Deputy Commissioners of Patiala and Sangrur are on toes to ensure that the 2010 situation is not repeated and work to clean the riverbed and strengthen its banks is on at full swing.

“We have made ample arrangements to tackle any kind of situation in case of floods. I am personally supervising the last-minute repairs and essential works. The Irrigation Department was told in advance and they have taken ample steps to save our villages from floods,” said Patiala DC Kumar Amit.

Meanwhile, even as the administration claims to have geared up for flood relief works, villagers are already prepared to shift their ration on the first floors of the houses in temporary kitchens. “This is an annual ritual where we shift our belongings and kitchen on the first floor,” said a villager.

Irrigation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria said instructions had been passed to the Chief Engineer, Canals, for ensuring completion of necessary works in all drains and rivers in Punjab, which were flood-prone.

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