Alert in Punjab areas after water release from Bhakra, Pong

Chandigarh, Aug 10 (IANS) An alert has been sounded to people living in areas along the Sutlej and Beas rivers in various districts of Punjab after the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) released water from the Bhakra and Pong dams on Monday.

Water overflowed the banks of both rivers in low-lying areas downstream in Ropar and adjoining districts in Punjab on Monday after the release, entering agricultural fields and other areas.

BBMB chairman A.B. Agarwal said on Monday that the water level in reservoirs of both dams had been increasing over the last few days, due to which floodgates had to be opened.

“The water level in Bhara Dam was 1,662 feet today (Monday). The increase in water level is two to two-and-a-half feet every day. We have begun releasing water to maintain the normal level. Today, 10,000 to 15,000 cusecs of water was released. This has been done so that we don’t have to release water suddenly,” Agarwal said.

The BBMB chairman said the inflow of water into Pong Dam resorvoir was greater and the water level there had touched 1,380 feet.

“The reservoir can be filled by 10 feet more. Water level increases by five to seven feet daily. We released 30,000 cusecs on Sunday. If required, we will increase the release of water,” he said.

The BBMB informed the Punjab government and district authorities in downstream areas of both dams before releasing water.

The 225-metre-high Bhakra Dam near Nangal town is built on the Sutlej river while the earth-filled Pond Dam near Talwara town is on the Beas river. Both dams are located in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh along the hill state’s boundary with Punjab.

Reservoirs of both dams have recorded increased water inflow owing to heavy rainfall in several parts of Himachal Pradesh in the past two weeks. In some areas like Mandi district of Himachal, cloudbursts and heavy rainfall have resulted in huge increase in the water level of Beas river.

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