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Major devastation averted in Punjab border areas as flood water flows into Pakistan

Flood rescue/evacuation operations by BSF in full swing from the border villages of Ferozpur flooded due to water released from Harrike Barrage and overflowing Sutlej river (Photo :BSF)

In what comes as a pleasant surprise, Pakistan for a change acting as a ‘good neighbour’ has helped reduce flood load in Malwa region by allowing gushing water in its territory.

The country that is conventionally known to have always closed its gates at the Suleiman headworks of the Sutlej during river’s spate in Punjab has kept it open this time. This, according to authorities, has helped control the havoc that would have been caused while it flowed downstream from Harike wetlands near Amritsar. The water level of 2.14 lakh cusecs was recorded at Harike on the Sutlej. It is through these wetlands in Amritsar that Satluj enters into Pakistan before re-entering India and then again flowing into Pakistan near Ferozpur’s Hussainiwala border. At Hussainiwala, the water recorded today was 1.92 lakh cusecs now flowing into Pakistan.

Sutlej is in its full spate with rundown from the Sirsa, Siswan, Sangrao, Budhki and the Swan rivers. It is wreaking havoc in entire Malwa region districts for the past five days. It could, according to the irrigation department, would have been worse if the water project gates would have been closed by Pakistan near Fazilka. According to HS Mehndiratta, Chief Engineer, Drainage, Punjab, the open gates have helped to avert major damage in the region.

“The flow of water to Pakistan has helped the entire Malwa region especially south Malwa or border villages. All protocols have been followed while the water is flowing in neighbouring country,” said Mehndiratta.

The irrigation department, following International protocol, has written to Centre for release of more than 50,000 cusecs of water towards Pakistan. Meanwhile BSF is conducting rescue and evacuation operations for civilians of bordering villages roping in BSF Water Wing and BSF boats. It may be noted that water released from Harike Barrage has entered into Ferozpur district’s border villages Kalu Wala, Tindi wala, Nihala Wala, Nihala Labera and other villages bordering Pakistan.

Similarly river Ravi in its full spate is flowing unhindered into Pakistan and this is a blessing in disguise as the entire Pathankot region has been spared from the flood crises. Owing to continuous rainfall and run down of water from Himachal a number of rivers, including Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and Ghaggar, have swelled up in Punjab. Villages have been experiencing floods as these have breached the embankments along with the canals. Around 12 deaths have so far been reported while 10,000 people have been shifted from their flooded homes to safer places.