Chandigarh: A crucial embankment in Punjab's Ferozepur district collapsed early Monday due to heavy discharge of water from Pakistan, posing a threat of flooding in at least 17 villages.
For the past three days, local authorities have been working on a war footing to strengthen the 50-foot embankment in Tendiwala village along the swollen Satluj river with the assistance of the Indian Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and locals.
Over 17 villages located on the right bank of the Satluj and along the Indo-Pakistan border are facing flood threat owing to the strong current of water coming from Kasur in Pakistan, an official told IANS.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked the Water Resources Department to work out a joint action plan to strengthen the embankment to avert the flooding of nearby villages.
Presiding over a high-level meeting here to review the flood situation in the state, the Chief Minister directed the Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, to ensure strengthening of the Tendiwala embankment.
The Chief Minister also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepur to keep NDRF teams on standby to meet any exigency arising out of the floods.
Deputy Commissioner Chander Gaind said that 500 persons have been evacuated and 630 given necessary medical aid in 15 flood-affected villages in Makhu and Hussaniwala areas.
Locals rue that Pakistan has released toxic water from its tanneries into the Satluj that has created havoc in their villages. The Satluj water enters Pakistan via a creek and because of the river's natural course, one its tributaries flows back near Tendiwala village.
This season it brought huge flows of highly toxic waste of leather tanneries in Kasur district of Pakistan into India. The pollutants have caused skin-related diseases in the villages along the border. Even livestock have been affected.
Gatti Rajoke, the last village in India before the international border, is one of the worst affected villages due to the water released by Pakistan.