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Flood alert in Haryana again /Water level rises in Yamuna, Delhi forewarned

 
The Tribune, New Delhi, 1st August, 2010
 
Haryana government sounded a flood alert in four districts on Saturday and ‘forewarned’ Delhi about the rising water level in the Yamuna. Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat and Sonepat are the districts likely to be affected.
 
With the Met department forecasting heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the next 48 hours, the water level in the Yamuna is expected to rise further.
 
The district administrations were asked to be prepared for all eventualities.As a precautionary measure, the authorities closed the Western Yamuna Canal. While the water discharge in the canal was around 10,000 cusecs during the past 10 days, on Saturday morning it rose to 90,000 cusecs, claimed officials. Round-the-clock monitoring was put in place and though the water receded during the day, it was still at an alarming level of 78,000 cusecs by Saturday evening, said Irrigation Secretary S.S. Dhillon. The Yamunanagar DC Ashok Sangwan, however, said that water from the Yamuna would threaten low-lying areas only when the discharge of water rises above 1.15 lakh cusecs. Till then, he said, there was no reason to panic.
 
Two seasonal rivulets in Yamunanagar, Som and Pathrala, which are usually dry, overflowed and inundated 50 odd villages. 17,000 acres of agricultural land in the district are under water and the highway passing through the district has been closed for heavy traffic.
 
Shortage of electricity and potable water and outbreak of malaria in the villages have added to the worries. Irate villagers complained that had the administration been alert enough to plug the breaches in the two rivulets earlier, so many villages would not have had to suffer.
 
Aware that they were caught napping by the rains in July, an alert has been sounded for keeping sandbags handy and for strengthening the ‘weak’ embankments on war-footing. The threat was real in view of the weather forecast, said the engineer-in-chief, Irrigation, Harmail Singh. But the state had coped with 4 lakh cusecs of water in the Yamuna in the past, he claimed, and there was no need for panic.