As North India is ravaged by floods, many low-lying areas of Punjab are inundated because of the swollen Sutlej river. At least 10 districts of Punjab are under threat after the flood gates of the Bhakra dam were opened, The Indian Express has reported.
The newspaper report states that 70,000 cusecs of water was released towards Pakistan from Harike on August 19 as a damage control measure. More water is to be released in the next 24 hours as well.
Besides, a 100-feet breach in a kucha road along the banks of the river Sutlej has caused flooding in 10 villages in Jalandhar district. Residents of the villages are being evacuated by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and being taken to higher ground on boats.
In order to accommodate the extra flow of Sutlej water, nearly 70,000 cusecs of water was released towards Pakistan by opening all gates. 52 villages in Ferozepur district have been evacuated. Over 200 Army jawans have been deployed along with 12 motorboats in Makhu and Zira area to help in evacuating people.
To this, Pakistan said India released about 200,000 cusecs water into the Sutlej without any intimation, causing flood-like situation in various areas in the country.
Meanwhile, the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the state declared floods to be a natural calamity. The chief minister directed the Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) to declare the floods as a natural calamity with the village as a unit to help the affected people get insurance claims against the loss suffered by them.
The chief minister, who had earlier in the day visited flood-hit areas of Rupnagar (Ropar), directed all deputy commissioners to closely monitor the situation in coordination with police, NDRF, SDRF and all other state government departments.
Singh also announced Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures in the affected areas as he described the deluge as "unprecedented".
Torrential rainfall in the northern states have claimed at least 38 lives and triggered landslides that left hundreds of people in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh stranded and several areas in Haryana and Jammu flooded.
Indian Air Force helicopters carried dramatic rescue operations in Jammu and Karnal districts on August 19, and the administration was on alert in parts of Haryana and Punjab.
The water level rose above the danger mark in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Delhi and the level at Bhakra dam was a foot above the permissible mark.(With inputs from PTI)