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Flash flood:A man taking his family to a safer place on a rickshaw-trolley in Ambala city on Wednesday. -
CHANDIGARH: The Army and a 100-member team of the National Disaster Management Authority along with the State Government have launched relief and rescue operations in the flood-ravaged Ambala and Kurukshetra districts of Haryana where over 100 villages and urban areas have been affected. Many train passengers were stranded on Wednesday due to delayed running and cancellation of services.
Incessant rain in the region on Monday and Tuesday coupled with breaches in seasonal rivers and canals including the yet-to-be-completed Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal resulted in the flooding of huge tracts of land and low-lying localities in Ambala and Kurukshetra districts. Even National Highway No.1 linking Delhi to Amritsar was water-logged at various places resulting in traffic jams and chaos. People complained of long power breakdowns which were caused by flooding of power sub-stations.
Railway authorities confirmed that while the New Delhi Shatabdi had been cancelled, the Shatabdi from Chandigarh to New Delhi was running late.
Surinder Gulati, who runs a bakery shop in Ambala, told The Hindu over telephone that the situation was still grim in some localities as more than eight feet of water had accumulated. He squarely blamed the district and civic authorities for not taking timely steps to deal with the monsoon and its after-effects.
An official spokesman said people could call the Flood Control Room on phone (2530401) and the Deputy Commissioner's Residence on 2552200 and 2552201 in case of emergency or flood-like situation in Ambala district. The Divisional Development and Panchayat Officer,Tehsildar and Nayab Tehsildar could also be contacted.
Deputy Commissioner Samir Pal Sarao claimed that the Ambala district administration was making all-out efforts to drain out the water from the water-logged areas of Ambala City, Garnala, Janetpur, Khatouli, Mandore, Sadopur, Sultanpur, Kakru,village Naggal, Khera and Jansui and Ambala Cantt. He asserted that water-logging had occurred due to average rainfall of 250 mm recorded in the past three days.
He said that due to heavy rain in the Ambala sub-division and overflowing of the Tangri river in Khelan Malan and Basoli areas of Punjab, excessive water had entered Ambala Cantt and the city which had created a flood-like situation. He further said that he along with the Superintendent of Police Shashank Anand had visited the flood-affected areas besides the “overflowing areas of the Tangri at Basoli and Khelan Mallan in Punjab”.
Stating that water had started receding on Wednesday, he added that the situation is likely to improve if there is no further rain. Wherever possible, pumps have been installed to drain the water. Precautionary measures would also be taken to prevent the spread of disease.
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited the flood-affected areas in Ambala and Kurukshetra. He said that the flood water from the Abadi areas in Kurukshetra was being drained out on a war footing and every possible assistance would be provided to the people. At Ambala, he announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs.2 lakh each on behalf of the State Government and Rs.1 lakh each on behalf of the district Red Cross Society to the kin of three persons who died of electric current during the floods.
He directed the officers to arrange eatables and water for the affected people as well as medicines to prevent spread of diseases.
He also directed them to arrange additional pumps to drain out flood water and warned that any laxity in flood relief measures would not be tolerated. He added that the damage caused by the floods to crops and houses would be assessed after receding of flood water and adequate compensation would be given.
He asserted that the water level in the Ghaggar and the Tangri and SYL Canal was decreasing steadily.
Efforts were on to restore power supply in the affected areas, he added. Schools have been closed for two days in the affected areas.
Mr. Hooda added that while the water of the Tangri had overflowed in Ambala district, the SYL canal had a 40 feet wide breach near Jyotisar in Kurukshetra district which flooded the rural areas of the district.
The team of the National Disaster Management Authority including swimmers and doctors are already on the job.
Meanwhile, Haryana Irrigation Minister Ajay Singh Yadav directed Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation) Harmail Singh to explore the possibility of setting up a regulator in Ambala district after taking consent from Punjab to regulate the flood water so that flood fury could be avoided.
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