Delhi Revenue and Flood Control Minister A. K. Walia on Tuesday visited several low-lying areas along the Yamuna and reviewed the flood situation with senior officials following release of large amounts of water upstream by Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Accompanied by senior officials, Dr. Walia visited Sonia Vihar Pushta, Wazirabad, Jagatpur, Hiranki, Jhingola and Palla in Delhi and Dahisar Bund in Haryana.
The officials said the Yamuna flows over a length of 48 km in Delhi. And while its catchment area lies at Solan, Jaton Barrage, Dadupur, Chandigarh, Patiala, Dehra Dun, Haripur, Karnal, Shimla, Hathnikund, Nahan, Ambala, Saharanpur, Busaan and Ponta in the nearby States, it is affected the most by water discharge from Hathnikund or Tajewala in Haryana. With discharge of one lakh cusecs of water, the water level in the Yamuna rises by one metre.
On Tuesday the Yamuna was flowing at 203.12 metres in Delhi, which was 92 cm more than the average water level. However, this was still well below the “warning level” of 204.00 m and the danger level of 204.83 m.
This year, the Government is taking more precautions because in 2010 the river had risen up to 207.11 m and caused widespread flooding. Since the discharge of water from Hathnikund takes 36 hours to reach the Yamuna in Delhi, the Minister was told that with the discharge of 1 lakh cusecs of water from Hathnikund the first warning is issued, the second is issued when 3 lakh cusecs are released and the third when 5 lakh cusecs are released. Following the second and third warnings, people from the low-lying Gadhi Mandu, Usmanpur, Badarpur Khadar and Batla House are evacuated. The Minister instructed the officials to remain prepared for any challenge and to work in tandem so that any loss of life and property could be avoided. He also directed Flood Control Department to complete the work of placing “wire crates” with stones in them along the banks of the river to prevent soil erosion.
Pointing out that substantial soil erosion may damage the embankments leading to flooding in the nearby villages, Dr. Walia said the Government had sanctioned Rs.40 lakh for strengthening them. He was told by the officials that the work of placing the wire crates with stones was progressing at a rapid pace Sonia Vihar Pushta, Jagatpur, Hiranki, Jhingola and Palla. The Department has so far arranged around 1,000 cubic metre of stones and a large number of sand bags to firm up the embankments.
The Delhi Government has also released Rs.72 lakh for strengthening of Dahisar Bund in Haryana since that was essential for preventing flooding in Delhi. The Minister said in case this embankment is not maintained properly, it may breach leading to flooding in villages in Delhi that border the Sonepat district of Haryana.
In order to meet any exigency, the Flood Control Department has also put on standby 63 boats, 15 divers and 100 pumps. It has also activated 24 wireless centres and one central control room to monitor the situation round the clock.
The Minister also visited several of these centres and stressed the importance of having the communication system in proper working condition in times of need.