Baltana floods caught authorities by surprise, UT admn blamed for ‘lapse’
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.
‘FIRST EXPERIENCE OF FLOOD-LIKE SITUATION’
“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.