Weather clears in rain-battered Punjab, Haryana, authorities step up relief efforts

Chandigarh: The rain ebbed on Tuesday after three days of incessant downpour, which left behind a trail of destruction in several parts of Punjab and Haryana where properties worth crores were damaged and nine lives lost. The governments in both states have stepped up efforts to provide relief to affected people even as they scramble to conduct rescue operations. On Tuesday morning, the weather was clear at most places in the region which brought relief to the people, after the incessant downpour inundated homes and caused extensive damage to crops and vegetables in many districts.

Officials said relief shelters have been set up in the affected districts in the two states, including Rupnagar, Patiala, Mohali, Ambala and Panchkula. Chief ministers of the two states are closely monitoring the situation, they said. In the worst-hit Rupnagar district of Punjab, several people joined hands with the administration to extend a helping hand to those in need. “It is the indomitable spirit of Punjabis to rise to the occasion whenever any crisis confronts them by helping each other,” Parminder Singh, who was reaching out to affected people in the district, said on Monday.

Since the level of the Yamuna river at Haryana’s Hathini Kund Barrage was rising constantly, people in adjacent low-lying areas have been asked to stay away from the riverbank, officials said. On Tuesday at 9 am, around 3.21 lakh cusecs of water was discharged from the barrage, the officials said. This is reportedly the highest quantity of water released from the barrage this year. Many villages of Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat and Sonepat districts, and those adjoining the Yamuna river have been put on alert.

There has been a breakdown in the power and water supplies in some of the worst-affected areas of Punjab and Haryana but authorities were working to restore them. On Tuesday morning, some residents of Mohali’s Aerocity held a protest on Airport Road, demanding the immediate restoration of the water and power supplies. “For the past few days, we are without water or electricity supply. We have been requesting the authorities concerned but nothing has been done so far,” said an elderly resident who was part of the protest. In some other affected districts too, including Punjab’s Rupnagar and Haryana’s Ambala, people were facing problems related to power and water.

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