Several trains cancelled, diverted as water level rises in Yamuna

New Delhi: Twenty seven trains were cancelled and seven more were diverted after the Railways temporary closed Delhi’s old Yamuna bridge, also known as Loha Pul, as the water level in the river reached 205.53 metres.

“At 12.20am, the old Yamuna Bridge was closed temporarily for rail traffic as water level reached at 205.53 metre mark,” a Northern Railway official told IANS.

About 3,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas in Delhi to makeshift camps as the water level in the river continued to rise on Sunday, reaching its highest level in the last five years a day after breaching the danger mark, government officials said.

“We have set up around 550 tents and evacuated around 3,000 people. Food, water and other amenities such as electricity and toilets are being provided. Some people are unwilling to shift,” a Delhi government official said.

Such camps were set up after a gap of two years as the level of water in the river had not swollen much since 2013, he said. “The water level touched 205.5 metres around 5pm on Sunday. The last time it breached the 205 metres was in 2013 when the water level touched 207.3 metres. In 2013, Haryana had released around 8 lakh cusecs of water on a single day. This time the maximum water Haryana has released so far is around 6 lakh cusecs. It was released on Saturday evening,” said an official of the irrigation and flood control department (I&FC), requesting not to be named.

The water level is likely to rise further in the next 48 hours, as it takes at least two days for the water to reach Delhi after being released from Haryana’s Hathnikund Barrage, around 200km north of Delhi. The national capital suffered its worst flood in 1978 when the water level in the Yamuna had touched a record 207.49 metres.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia took stock of the ongoing evacuation work, on Sunday. The Delhi government has pressed about 350 officials from the revenue department, flood and irrigation department, Public Works Department, and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority into evacuation work. Around 250 officials from the Delhi Police have also conducting checks in affected areas, making announcement to warn residents.

Chief minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar held an emergency meeting on Sunday to review the situation in Yamunanagar district, where an alert was declared in the wake of rising level of Yamuna river due to heavy rains in the catchment areas. The Yamuna passes through three districts in Haryana before entering Delhi.

Khattar made an aerial survey of the affected regions, which included 65 villages. He announced a compensation for farmers and said affected areas would be assessed to study the damage caused to crops.

Though rain has reduced in the national capital, heavy spells in areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have led to a sharp rise in level of the Yamuna in Delhi. Evacuation of people and cattle grazers in the low-lying areas of the floodplain, began on Saturday after the Delhi government issued a flood alert.

The India Metrological Department (IMD) said on Sunday that the intensity of rainfall in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand is likely to decrease in the next three-four days, which could improve the situation in Delhi.

(With agency inputs)