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Army called in for rescue as continuous rains batter Punjab, Haryana; 9 killed

Army called in for rescue as continuous rains batter Punjab, Haryana; 9 killed

Chandigarh: As relentless rain lashed Punjab and Haryana for the third day in a row, flooding numerous areas and forcing authorities to scramble for rescue efforts, nine persons died in rain-related incidents.

The Punjab government has ordered the closure of schools till July 13 while in Chandigarh schools are closed till Thursday.

Haryana too has ordered the closure of schools in some worst-affected districts till Wednesday. In other places of the state, the government has left it to the deputy commissioners to take a call on the matter after assessing the situation.

Tracts of land near the Sutlej and Ghaggar rivers were inundated while distributaries and major canals were breached in some places in Punjab and Haryana damaging crops. As water gushed into houses in parts of the two states, authorities raced to bring affected people to safety.

Breakdown in power and water supply in some of the worst-affected areas of Punjab and Haryana escalated people's problems. Mohali, Patiala, Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Panchkula and Ambala are some of the worst-hit districts in the two states.

The civic administration of the two neighbouring states gave out a call for help in rescue operations to the Army which pressed its Western Command's flood relief columns into service. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) too assisted the civic authorities in rescue and relief operations.

Punjab Police Chief Gaurav Yadav said 15 NDRF teams and two units of SDRF have been deployed in the worst-hit districts to plug breaches and carry out evacuation and rescue operations.

Additionally, 12 columns of the Army have been called in for Rupnagar, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, SBS Nagar, Mohali and Pathankot districts, he said.

The Army rescued 910 students and 50 civilians from a private university in Punjab after heavy rains led to inundation, according to an official statement.

According to officials, nine rain-related deaths have been reported in the two states.

Three people, including two children, died when their house was buried under debris brought in by a landslide in Haryana's Pinjore area on Monday, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kalka Ruchi Bedi said.

Haryana's Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal told PTI that one person drowned in Ambala district. In Haryana's Karnal district, a man and his wife lost their lives after the roof of their house collapsed early on Monday due to heavy rains.

In Haryana's Ambala, the administration sounded an alert and sought the Army and NDRF's help after rivers such as Markanda, Tangri and Ghaggar, started to flow above the danger mark. Many areas in the district were waterlogged following a breach in the Narwana and Sutlej Yamuna Link canals.

At Doraha in Ludhiana, two breaches in a canal were successfully plugged on Monday morning with the efforts of the district administration, the Army and the police.

Heavy rains and floods in the Rupnagar area of Punjab affected traffic on the Chandigarh-Rupnagar highway.

As incessant rains for the past three days damaged pipes at Kajauli Water Works, Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma chaired a meeting and asked senior officers to visit the site and submit a detailed report to him.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann visited flood-affected areas in Mohali and Rupnagar districts and appealed to people not to panic while assuring them of all possible help.

Describing the situation as "alarming", he asserted the state government was making its best efforts in extending relief to the people.

A special survey will be conducted to ascertain the loss of crops and property due to heavy rains over the past three days, Mann said.

In view of the prevailing situation due to incessant rains, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar cancelled his pre-scheduled programmes for the day and summoned an emergency meeting of senior officials of various departments. He also held a meeting with deputy commissioners and took stock of the situation.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij visited the Tangri River area along with officers of the irrigation department.

With PTI inputs

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