Himachal flood: IAF, army evacuate stranded villagers in Kangra district - Hindustan Times
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Himachal flood: IAF, army evacuate stranded villagers in Kangra district

Aug 16, 2023 02:46 PM IST

Pong Dam on the Beas received an all-time high inflow of 7.3 lakh cusecs of water on Monday, resulting in the level in the reservoir crossing the permissible limit of 1,390 feet following which the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) opened floodgates, inundating villages in Indora and Fatehpur sub divisions

More than 1,000 people have been rescued from villages in Indora and Fatehpur sub divisions of Kangra district since Tuesday after water was released from Pong Dam on the Beas river that flooded areas downstream, Kangra deputy commissioner Nipun Jindal said on Wednesday.

A video grab of a woman being rescued by the Indian Air Force during an operation to evacuate stranded residents in flood-hit Kangra district on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
A video grab of a woman being rescued by the Indian Air Force during an operation to evacuate stranded residents in flood-hit Kangra district on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

The joint rescue operation by the Indian Air Force (IAF), army, NDRF and SDRF is underway to evacuate hundreds of people still stranded in the area, said Jindal, who is overseeing the efforts.

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Pong Dam on the Beas river received an all-time high inflow of 7.3 lakh cusecs of water on Monday, resulting in the level in the reservoir crossing the permissible limit of 1,390 feet following which the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) opened the floodgates.

The dam authorities released about 1 lakh cusecs of water initially but by Tuesday, the volume had been increased to 1.6 lakh cusecs in view of the reservoir level and inflow, a BBMB official said.

The water level in Pong Dam was 1,398.68 feet on Wednesday afternoon. The water inflow was 1.18 lakh cusecs, while 1.41 lakh cusecs was being released through floodgates and spillways.

Sukhu headed to Kangra

Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is headed to Kangra to oversee rescue and relief. “I’m on the way to Kangra where a rescue operation is underway. The IAF, army, NDRF and SDRF are carrying out the operation,” he said.

Sukhu also said that the toll in rain-related incidents in the state since Sunday has risen to 60 and the loss this monsoon is likely to go up to 10,000 crore.

Villagers after they were evacuated by the Indian Air Force from flood-hit areas in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
Villagers after they were evacuated by the Indian Air Force from flood-hit areas in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Rescue sorties resume

The Kangra district administration stationed a team of the National Disaster Response Force team at Kathgarh in Indora.

Help was also sought from the IAF and the army as rescue operation by boats was not possible at some places.

The army sent two teams, one from Mamoon Cantonment and another from Yol Military Station, while the IAF sent two MI-17 helicopters for the rescue operation.

Two temporary helipads were built at Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Stadium at Fatehpur and at Damtal.

Nearly 800 people were rescued from villages of Indora and Fatehpur until the rescue operation was halted on Tuesday night.

IAF helicopters carried out nine sorties to airlift 213 people. Others were rescued by boats. Students of Arni University, a haemorrhagic stroke patient, a newborn and his mother and a pregnant woman were among those airlifted.

“The operation was resumed early on Wednesday and IAF helicopters are back in action as hundreds more are still stranded,” Jindal said.

The DC said Badala, Bela Indora, Bella Thakran, Mand Snour, Mand Miyani, Ulehriyan, Dhameta, Haler and Milwan Riyali are among the worst-hit villages. The flood has inundated houses, agricultural fields, bridges and roads.

MLA blames illegal mining

The administration has set-up relief camps at Fatehpur, Badukhar and Indora for those rescued. Till Tuesday night, 270 people were staying at relief camps, while many others had gone to their relatives. Teams of doctors were deployed at the relief camps.

Fatehpur legislator Bhawani Singh Pathania blamed illegal mining, encroachment in flood plains and negligence of people for the devastation.

“We had anticipated the situation and had been telling people in the downstream villages to vacate their houses. Officials were going door-to-door, urging people to move to safer places but they won’t listen,” he said.

“Due to illegal mining, the water entered places where there had been no flood ever since the dam came up,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

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