Pong Dam Level Rises: Bhakra Officials to Release 49,000 Cusecs Today; Punjab Schools Shut, Over 3,000 Stranded in HP
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) officials will release water from Pong Dam at 3 pm on Tuesday. Meanwhile, two air force choppers have been deployed to evacuate stranded people in Lahaul-Spiti district.
Shimla: Over 700 people have been stranded in Lahaul and Spiti district, while nearly 3,000 are stuck in Chamba as rain and snowfall has wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh. The Bhakra Management Board (BBMB) dam authorities have also decided to release 49,000 cusecs water from Pong Dam as the water level has reached 1386.84 feet-mark as against the danger level of 1390 feet.
Two air force choppers have been deployed to evacuate stranded people in Lahaul-Spiti district. The people stuck in Chamba after landslide were labourers, were working for a Gammon India project, 60km from Nagaon district. Of the 3,000, a thousand are from Assam. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will soon arrive in Bhuntar to take stock of the situation, Himachal transport minister Govind Singh Thakur said.
The decision to release the water was taken after the water level in the dam rose by 11.11 feet in the past 36 hours. BBMB Assistant Design Engineer (ADE) Arun Bhatia said more than 49,000 cusecs of water from the dam would be released at 3 pm on Tuesday. Bhatia told PTI that reservoir level or water level of Pong Dam, also known as Beas Dam, reached at 1386.84 feet-mark on Monday at 11 pm.
"49,000 cusecs of water would be released on Tuesday afternoon," he added. There is no need to panic, he said. "However, the residents of low-lying areas in HP and neighbouring Punjab should remain vigilant. The authorities have also been asked to make all kinds of preparations," he said.
Meanwhile, forty-five people, including 35 students from Roorkee's Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), who had gone missing during a trek in Himachal Pradesh's mountainous Lahaul and Spiti district have been rescued and are safe, an official said.
A group of eight people, comprising a woman from Brunei Sanjida Tuba, a man from The Netherlands Abby Lim and six Indian nationals — Priyanka Vora, Payal Desai, Dipika, Divya Aggarwal, Abhinav Chandel and Ashok — had also gone from Lahaul-Spiti. However, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Keylong Amar Singh Negi later informed that all the eight travellers were safe at the district's Koksar camp.
Regional Manager of Keylong told News18 that the valley has received three-feet snowfall, disrupting power supply and telephonic network. The manager said that the operation in inner valley had to be suspended for two days after sudden snowfall on Saturday, leading to five buses being stranded at different locations.
The relief and rescue operations were also disrupted in Pangi valley after heavy rainfall. Several buses were stranded in Pangi as well. However, all transport officials and passengers are reported to be safe.
In the wake of the inclement weather, all schools and colleges in Punjab will remain closed on Tuesday. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has issued a 'red alert' on Monday and asked asked district authorities to maintain vigil.
According to a report in The Tribune, disaster control rooms have been activated and all officials have been directed to remain on standby for the next 72 hours. Officials in the control room of the Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management Department said that towards 6 pm, the water inflow to the three dams had reduced compared with the inflow over the last 12 hours.
"Red alert has been issued in view of incessant rain in the state", a spokesman of the Chief Minister's Office said. District authorities in catchment areas of rivers have been asked to make sufficient arrangements of boats for any rescue operation, he said.
(With inputs from PTI)