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Punjab to canalise its rivers to prevent floods: Amarinder

Jalandhar, Aug 22 (IANS) Reviewing the ground situation in flood-hit villages, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced his government would canalise all the rivers with technical support from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Going around Sarupwal in Kapurthala district’s Sultanpur Lodhi sub-tehsil, where the overflowing the Sutlej river led to a breach in the Dhusi embankment, affecting 62 villages, he also promised due compensation to the affected farmers as soon as the water recedes and special ‘girdwari’ (loss assessment) is completed.

Talking to the media after an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding in Kapurthala and Jalandhar areas, the Chief Minister announced a project to project to realign river streams and courses, besides strengthening and widening of the river embankments for a permanent solution to the problem of floods.

Amarinder Singh also announced dedicated village relief teams in the affected areas.

Each team would comprise officers of the Health, Civil Supply and Animal Husbandry Departments, and would ensure regular and timely supply of food, medicines and fodder for all affected families.

In response to a question, the Chief Minister said nothing would be allowed to hamper the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, and his government was geared up to celebrate the historic occasion in a befitting manner.

Amarinder Singh, who earlier conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas of Nawanshar and Ludhiana, told reporters in Gidderpindi in Jalandhar district that even if the Central government fails to extend support, the state would ensure full support to every person affected by the flooding.

The Chief Minister had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, seeking a special flood relief package for the state.

Amarinder Singh inspected the breach site in Gidderpindi, resulting from release of excess water from Bhakra dam.

For the first time, Bhakra, which normally gets filled to its permissible storage level of 1,680 feet by September, was overflowing in August, he said.

The Chief Minister, who is constantly monitoring the flood situation, further ordered the Drainage Department to immediately identify potential breach points and plug those on priority.




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