For the second time this season, the Yamuna breached the danger level of 204.83 metres at the Old Railway Bridge in the Capital on Thursday afternoon after about 7 lakh cusecs of water was released upstream from Hathani Kund barrage in Haryana.
With excessive amount of water released by Haryana between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, experts believe that Delhi would witness the highest flood level of around 207 metres past noon this Friday.
While the river had flowed over the danger mark for over a week this past month and hovered around the 206-metre mark before receding, it has risen much more menacingly now and is expected to go even a metre higher, flooding vast swathes of land and low-lying areas.
With the river rising continuously, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit held a review meeting with officials of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department at her residence on Thursday morning. Later Delhi Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan convened an urgent high-level meeting to review the situation arising out of the release of water from Hathani Kund barrage in Haryana and the rapid rise in the level of the Yamuna in Delhi.
Mr. Chauhan informed that as per information received from the Central Water Commission the level of the Yamuna might reach a record level of 206.90 metres on Friday and stay around that level.
Release of a similar quantity of water from the barrage in 1978 had led to massive flooding in Delhi when the level of the Yamuna had touched 207.49 metres.
Mr. Chauhan, however, assured that the situation is very different this time round. He said the Delhi Government had made adequate arrangements should the Yamuna bank or nearby low-lying areas get flooded.
The Minister also appealed to the people living in low-laying areas to vacate and take shelter on high places.
He said the Irrigation and Flood Control Department officials have been issuing continuous warnings to people residing in low laying areas to vacate and shift to safer locations. “The situation is being monitored round the clock through a control room set up by Deputy Commissioner (East),'' he said.
The Minister said the Irrigation and Flood Control Department has also readied 85,850 empty cement bags, 3,582 cubic metres of stone, 5,275 wooden ‘balli', 2,700 iron mesh or ‘jali', 11 trucks, 422 life jackets and 45 specialised search lights to meet any eventuality.
Besides, he added, 90 big and small pumps have been installed at different locations to pump out water from low-lying areas like Ring Road, Okhla, Majnu Ka Tila, Burari, Batala House and Jahangirpuri.
Stating that 74 boats and 68 divers have been placed on stand-by along with a team of the National Disaster Relief Force, the Minister said the Chief Engineer of the Flood Control Department has also been directed to keep adequate staff ready to deal with any breach on the bunds along the river.