Chandigarh: With the recent heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh (HP) due to which high inflow - to the tune of around 7 lakh cusecs - was received in the Pong Dam and following which water had to be released, the Punjab government has advised the residents of five districts not to go near the river.
These five districts of the Punjab are Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar.
Warning sounded for Beas River
According to media reports, it is the first time that the dam, which became operational in 1977, has seen such a huge inflow. With about 68,000 cusecs of water being released from Pong dam, the state government had issued an advisory asking people of the five districts not to go near Beas river.
Also, the Bhakra Dam over the Sutlej river, which also has a catchment in HP and had a heavy inflow due to recent downpour in the neighbouring state, had reached its top filing capacity of 1,680 feet. However, even though the Bhakra dam’s floodgates were opened on Sunday, the rise in the water levels in both the dams were posing a threat downstream in Punjab.
Both the dams – Bhakra and Pong dams – are managed by Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
Alarming levels of water in Bhakra Dam
According to reports, 20,000 cusecs of water was being released from Bhakra Dam reservoir. Though it maintains a level of 1,670 feet by August 15, this level has been surpassed due to heavy rains while a month is still to go for filling of the dam till September 20 and there has been heavy rains in the catchment areas.
Nonetheless, the BBMB has initiated steps for the flood mitigation through controlled water discharges from the two dams - and according to information, - the situation is still being monitored despite some let-up in the inflows and release of water was being calibrated to avoid downstream flooding.
Meanwhile, the waterlogging caused by overflowing rivers and rivulets had also heightened the worries for the freshly sown paddy in several parts of the state.
The Punjab water resources minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer on Monday said that the river banks had been sufficiently strengthened to carry these high discharges yet the field staff of the department had been asked to keep the position 24 hours a day.
Meanwhile, chief secretary Anurag Verma also held a meeting with all deputy commissioners through video conferencing to discuss the situation arising due to excess water inflow into the dams due to heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh. He asked the officers concerned to be prepared to deal with any situation and set up relief camps, if necessary.