Floods cause massive devastation in Northern India


Unprecedented rains in Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi have caused massive devastations to infrastructure, crop and people’s life in these states.

The rain-triggered fury and landslides in hills, inundation of cities and loss of lives.

Schools in New Delhi were closed after heavy rains lashed the national capital over the weekend, and authorities in the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand asked people not to venture out of their homes unless necessary.

At least 22 people died in floods and landslides in the northern states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab on Sunday, the Times of India newspaper reported.

Delhi, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh have received 112%, 100% and 70% more rainfall than average so far in the current monsoon season that started on June 1, according to the department.

In the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, flash floods over the weekend brought down a bridge and swept away several hutments. Authorities used helicopters to rescue people stranded on roads and bridges because of the rain, footage from Reuters partner ANI showed.

Relief work continued at a brisk pace in the flood-maroone areas of Punjab and Haryana, where the rain fury left normal life paralysed in worst-hit parts.

Authorities in the two states have stepped up relief operations as the weather has improved over the past three days. Overall, 14 districts have been affected in Punjab and seven in Haryana.

With six more deaths due to rain-related incidents in Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday, the death toll now stands at 21, including 10 in Haryana, according to government data.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also took stock of the situation in some affected areas.

Meanwhile, amid the blame game over water flow from the Hathnikund barrage increasing the Yamuna level in Delhi, Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal Thursday said not releasing excess water from the barrage could lead to a “bigger damage”.

Roads turned into rivers and water gushed into houses, crematoriums and shelter homes, impairing daily life in the national capital, even as Yamuna’s water level stabilised after reaching 208.62 metres on Thursday, smashing the all-time record set 45 years ago by a significant margin.

Officials said the water flowing in the Hathnikund barrage in Yamunanagar district on Thursday was around 1 lakh cusecs in the afternoon, significantly down from Tuesday morning’s flow rate of around 3.21 lakh cusecs of water discharged from the barrage.

With Delhi Traffic Police on Thursday issuing an advisory on the traffic restrictions owing to the rising water level of Yamuna, buses from Haryana Roadways depots, including Panipat and Sonipat, Thursday plied only till Singhu on the Haryana-Delhi border, roadways officials said.

Mann, who visited some affected areas, told reporters in Patiala’s Patran that Punjab was adversely impacted by the recent heavy rains in the state and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.

Mann said he is constantly monitoring the situation and has directed the officials in the affected areas to extend all possible help to people.

Hitting back at rival parties which targeted the state’s AAP government for its alleged lack of planning and preparation, Mann said his current priority was to take care of the people who are in need.

Asked if Punjab has sought any flood relief package from the Centre, Mann said the loss is still being assessed.

“We are yet to assess the loss,” he said, while adding “If they (the Centre) have to give (any package) they may, but we are not going to beg,” he said.

Considering the safety of students, the Punjab government on extended the holiday in schools till July 16. Earlier, it had announced holidays till July 13.

Over 14,000 people have been shifted to safer places from waterlogged localities in several of Punjab’s affected districts.

Meanwhile, in the Ferozepur district, a portion of a bridge at Hajara Singh Wala village over the Sutlej river caved in Thursday, affecting the connectivity of more than twenty villages.

In Kapurthala district, Army Jawans, NDRF and Punjab Police jawans evacuated 300 flood victims from flood-marooned villages in Sultanpur Lodhi during the past two days.

At many places, NGOs, locals and religious bodies have come together to lend a helping hand to those affected.

Environmentalist and AAP Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal on Thursday stepped up his efforts with the help of authorities to plug a 300-feet wide breach on the bundh near Mandala village in Punjab.