Bal­tana floods caught au­thor­i­ties by sur­prise, UT admn blamed for ‘lapse’

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Htregion - Hil­lary Vic­tor

MO­HALI: Zi­rakpur mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil (MC) au­thor­i­ties were caught com­pletely by sur­prise as flash floods hit Bal­tana on Sun­day when flood­gates of the Sukhna Lake were opened af­ter its wa­ter lev­els breached the danger mark; even as an uniden­ti­fied body of a man in his thir­ties was found in Sukhna choe (rivulet) in the area.

They said flood­wa­ters had en­tered many ar­eas in the town by the time they got to know about it. Not be­ing told about the re­lease of the wa­ter from Sukhna was a “se­ri­ous lapse on the part of the Chandigarh ad­min­is­tra­tion,” they added.

Even as cats and dog car­casses sur­faced in the flood wa­ters, po­lice were in­formed about an un­clothed body of a man spot­ted in the choe near the po­lice post.

Af­ter peo­ple liv­ing nearby failed to iden­tify the body, it was kept at the Dera Bassi Civil Hos­pi­tal. Other po­lice sta­tions have been in­formed, said Kul­want Singh, in-charge, Bal­tana po­lice post.


“We had no idea that the UT ad­min­is­tra­tion would re­lease the wa­ter and came to know about it only when the en­tire area was flooded.we have ex­pe­ri­enced a flood-like sit­u­a­tion for the first time,” said San­deep Te­wari, the MC’S ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

“It is a se­ri­ous lapse on the part of the Chandigarh ad­min­is­tra­tion, which re­leased the wa­ter with­out any in­ti­ma­tion. Nei­ther the deputy com­mis­sioner of Mo­hali nor Patiala were aware of it. The wa­ter has re­ceded now, but they might re­lease it again,” said Ra­man Bains, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Ir­ri­ga­tion depart­ment.

Chandigarh chief en­gi­neer Mukesh Anand had stated on Sun­day that be­fore open­ing the flood­gates around 3am, “we had alerted the district ad­min­is­tra­tions in Chandigarh, Mo­hali and Panchkula”.

Sukhna breached the danger mark af­ter check dams re­leased wa­ter higher up in the Shiva­lik hills fol­low­ing heavy rain early on Sun­day, fol­low­ing which most rivulets, also known as choes, in the area, were flooded.

The worst af­fected ar­eas were lo­cated around Sukhna choe, in­clud­ing the Bal­tana po­lice post, mar­riage palaces, Mu­nic­i­pal

Park, milk dairies and the cre­ma­tion ground.

Po­lice per­son­nel also had to de­mol­ish part of a wall for the flood­wa­ters to flow out into an ad­ja­cent rivulet.

Many slum dwellers hit by the floods have moved their be­long­ings to safer places.

“We were born and brought up here, but we have ex­pe­ri­ence such flood­ing for the first time,” said Bal­want Singh, a lo­cal res­i­dent.


Chil­dren play­ing in flood­wa­ter ac­cu­mu­lated at the mu­nic­i­pal park in Bal­tana on Mon­day.

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