Yamuna rises alarmingly; under control, says Dikshit (Roundup)

Friday, September 10, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Yamuna continued to swell, crossing the danger mark by over a metre as flood-hit Haryana released more water Friday into the river from a barrage upstream. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, however, maintained that the situation was “under control” and people living in low-lying areas had been shifted to safer places.

The Delhi government maintained that breached river embankments in Haryana had lessened the impact in the national capital though the Yamuna level crossed 206 metres Friday evening.

According to the chief minister, the breach in embankments at several places in Haryana has lessened the impact as the huge volume of water which was to reach Delhi had dispersed and fortunately not reached.

The danger level in the capital is 204.83 metre.

Flood Control Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, who inspected the low-lying areas Friday evening, appealed to the people not to panic and reiterated that there was no danger of floods.

The Delhi government claimed there was no reason to worry as “all mechanisms have been put in place to deal with the situation”.

According to an official of the Irrigation and Flood Control department, the water level in the Yamuna was 206.03 metres at 6 p.m. Friday. He added that a similar situation had arisen last month too due to release of water by Haryana and the Yamuna had swollen to 205.97 metres.

An official of the Central Water Commission said the water level will continue to rise for the next few hours and is expected to reach 206.35 metres between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Saturday.

The Irrigation and Flood Control department official said over 600,000 cusecs of water was released by Haryana Wednesday, but in batches spread over the day. He said of the 100,000 cusecs released intermittently by Haryana, about 70,000 cusecs flowed into Delhi on an hourly basis and flowed away.

Haryana also released 100,000 cusecs Friday morning from the Hathni Kund Barrage.

Chauhan also said that after reaching 206.55 metres, the water level was expected to remain stable. During his visit to low-lying areas, he also interacted with the affected people and assured them of all help from the government. Chauhan directed the officials to ensure adequate arrangement of food, water, lighting and doctors in all the 400-plus camps.

“The situation is under control, don’t worry. The huge amount of water which was to reach Delhi from Haryana has fortunately not reached Delhi. I, along with Flood Control Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, am monitoring the situation,” the chief minister earlier told reporters.

Areas that had been flooded in 1978 included low-lying colonies like Batla House, Garhi Mandu, Yamuna Bazaar, Nigambodh Ghat, Shastri Park, Madanpur Khadar, ITO, Rajghat, Daryaganj, Model Town and Mukherjee Nagar as well as settlements along the river bank.

However, government officials maintained that these areas were not under threat this time and the river embankments were higher than in 1978.

Elaborating some of the emergency measures launched to tackle the situation, an official of the flood control department said that over 100 booster pumps had been fitted along the banks of the river to pump out the water.

Orders had been issued for installing more pumps in low-lying areas such as Ring Road, Okhla, Majnu Ka Tila, Burari, Batla House and Jahangirpuri.

The official said around 75 boats had been kept on the riverside and 68 divers/boatmen and a team of the National Disaster Relief Force deployed to deal with the situation.

In the 1978 floods, the river had crossed 207.48 metres, affecting more than 250,000 people.

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