August 30, 2008

Experts Against ‘Relief Cut’

By IP Singh

SULTANPUR LODHI: With nearly half a dozen villages in the Mand area of Sultanpur Lodhi still inundated with water, a high-level drainage & irrigation department team has decided against giving a 'relief cut' in the Sutlej river 'bundh' , holding it would pose a great risk if the water level rises in the river.

Meanwhile the stink is so strong in these villages that residents are trying to lessen it by burning incense sticks or similar material. The dirty water of the Chitti Bein and Budha Nullah in the Sutlej had already made life difficult hellish experience for these villagers. Now the stink of dead fish in the standing muddy water has made the stink unbearable.

It may be mentioned here that some quarters were making the point that a 'relief cut' should be given in the Sutlej river 'bundh' so that water could drain back in the river but the team consisting of four chief engineers which inspected the area on Tuesday held that the cut was not advisable. As the 'bundh' would be weakened and in case the water level would again rise in the river then the move could boomerang, an official of the drainage department said. The team was sent by irrigation secretary Suresh Kumar to have a first hand account of the situation.

Department officials said water was flowing back into the river through some 'inlets' and seven dewatering pumps were also being used. However, they added it would take a few days more to drain out the water.

While there is very high incidence of scabies in the affected villages at least four cattle in Saroowal village also died. Sukhjeet Singh Seechewal said that high presence of mosquitoes and insects was exacerbating the situation not only for humans but for the cattle also.

(c) 2008 The Times of India. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.