LAHORE/KASUR – A fresh flood warning has been sounded across Punjab province in the wake of possible massive deluge, as India spilled more than 70,000 cusecs of additional water into River Sutlej without prior information to Pakistani authorities, inundating dozens of villages in Ganda Singhwala area of Kasur district on Tuesday morning. Water experts say that New Delhi, in sheer violation of the Indus Water Treaty, released more than 70,000 cusecs of water into River Sutlej at Pakistani side which mounted its level to an alarming level and washed away dozens of villages in Kasur after creating an emergency flood situation in the entire area.
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“The water level in River Sutlej is speedily mounting up as more water is coming from the Indian side. The Pakistani authorities have set up flood camps in the endangered areas of Kasur to overcome any possible mishap”, a provincial government official told this reporter. On Tuesday morning, according to water experts, more than 48,000 cusecs of water was passing through River Sutlej at Ganda Singhwala point. “We are expecting that the water level may further rise as Indians are releasing more floodwater from reservoirs upstream,” Ayyub Khan Mayo, Chief of the Pakistan Muttahida Kisan Mahaz said. Agriculturists feared that the expected high flood of water could destroy the standing crops on a vast land comprising hundreds of hectares. Officials said that thousands of stranded people are lying under the open sky in most parts of Kasur district while they are yet to receive any emergency aid from the authorities concerned.
Meanwhile, the Metrological Department has predicted that water level in the Ravi would remain low during this monsoon but after release of water from India, floods could hit Bhutsen and Basantar drainages of the river. Though not at danger level yet, but the water level is also mounting up in the Ravi River, sources added. Over 170 villages along the Ravi are evacuated every year while the local administration is put on high alert in Narowal and Sialkot districts to cope with any emergency, official sources said. “The local administration is working with the villagers to get over one hundred villages evacuated in Narowal district in the wake of possible deluge in the locality as India has started diverting flood waters to Pakistan”, sources added.
The Pakistan-specific defence structures of India could also wash away drainage located at Shakargarh. Massive flooding is also possible in Basantar, Jhajri, Oojh and Khattar drainages and a water inflow of 100,000 cusec at Shahdara could cause massive destruction, if India resorted to divert floodwater towards Pakistan, the officials warned. It is worth mentioning that during the Pak-India parleys held in March and May 2010, India had agreed to install telemetry system on the rivers in its territory to check real-time water flow. But later, New Delhi refused to respond to the issues raised by Islamabad. In such an eventuality, the big question remains, how aggressively India is violating the Indus Water Teary (IWT-1960) by diverting the river courses.
“We have credible reports that India during this season is going to release about 200,000-cusec additional water in the River Ravi, Sutlej, Jhelum and Chenab. This high flow of water is bound to wash away thousands of villages in Punjab province, if efforts are not made to stop Indian hegemony on river waters”, experts said. Water experts also revealed that Pakistani engineers are battling hard not only to nullify Indian hegemony over the river waters but also trying to avert possible massive deluge as India is likely to release over 100,000 cusecs of additional water in the River Ravi without prior information to the Pakistani authorities. Experts say that on the one hand India is stealing Pakistani water by building dams on rivers flowing into Pakistan from Occupied Kashmir while during monsoon season New Delhi deflect river-courses to release floodwater towards Pakistani side.
It is important to mention here that India is constructing 40 dams on River Jhelum, out of which 4 big and 16 small dams have started functioning. India is constructing the third largest dam of the world in Kargil on River Indus, which will block 45 % flow of water to Pakistan. Our Kasur correspondent adds: As water surged in Sutlej on Tuesday and submerged standing crops in Kasur villages, the district administration issued a final call for the evacuation of the villages likely to be affected by flood. District Kasur administration claimed on Tuesday to have completed all preparations to meet any untoward condition but was facing problems to motivate villagers to leave homes and move with their cattle and valuables to safer places. On Tuesday, the water level at Keekar post was 17.5 feet (a rise of 4 feet during the last couple of days) which was expected to rise further.
Source said the water released from India was rainwater accumulated at Opra Barrage and it had nothing to do with the Bakhra Dam that was yet to be filled. Standing crops stretching over hundreds of acres were inundated due to the floodwater at more than 15 villages. These villages include Bhikhi Wind, Kalanger Nagar, Kamalpura, Mastaiki, Pattan, Ganda Singhwala, Basti Bangladesh, Phati Wala and Bakkarke. Distrct administration was there for the last two nights to meet any emergency. It had installed emergency tents at Talwar post to help people of affected villages. AC capt (R) Altaf Hussain said at Talwar post the floodwater that was of low level had so far submerged crops outside some villages but it had not entered in the houses. He added that efforts were underway to evacuate the villages and shift the cattle heads and valuables to safer places. District’s Rescue Incharge Dr Ikhtisham Hasan said his local teams were already in the affected areas under the supervision of Naveed Chaudhry while a special rescue force from Lahore had also arrived at Talwar post on Monday night.