The allegations by Delhi’s ruling Aam Adami Party (AAP) of the Haryana government deliberately releasing excess water to cripple the city with a flood deserve an “award for ignorance”, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has told NDTV.
“Floods are a natural calamity, you can’t predict it,” Mr Khattar said in an interview, discussing the crisis that has hit several states in North India. “This time a lot of water came down in three days and it was 8-9 times the regular amount. The onslaught of water has not only come from unprecedented rainfall, but a huge amount of water came down from the mountains too,” he added.
These floods have led to widespread damage across Haryana. “12 of our districts were affected, two of them are still dealing with flooding. Water has entered agricultural fields in 1,300 villages,” explained the Chief Minister.
The damages incurred are estimated to be worth about Rs 500 crore, leading the state government to launch a portal to compensate affected farmers and provide Rs 4 lakh to families that have lost a member in the disaster.
Addressing the allegations made by the AAP, Mr Khattar stated, “It’s a natural calamity, I don’t like talking politics about it. But if I have to respond to the charges, I’ll say that the AAP deserves an award for ignorance.”
The AAP has accused the BJP governments at the centre and Haryana of “conspiring” to flood Delhi by releasing excess water from Haryana’s Hathnikund Barrage during last week’s deluge.
“The CWC (Central Water Commission) has mentioned how much water can be absorbed through canals and the rest has to go through the river. So, the water had to be released in the Yamuna,” Mr Khattar countered.
He questioned the logic of the AAP’s accusations, asking, “If we had to make Delhi suffer, why would we not spare the six districts of Haryana around the Yamuna? Around 40 per cent of people in Delhi are from Haryana. Haryana’s nature is to help people, not hurt them.”
The Chief Minister also addressed the comments of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann over the flood situation, likening them to “that of a clown.”
Parts of Delhi have been grappling with flooding for over a week. Initially, excessive rainfall on July 8 and 9 led to intense waterlogging, with the city receiving 125 per cent of its monthly rainfall quota in just two days. Subsequent heavy rains in the upper catchment areas of the Yamuna, including in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana, led to the river swelling to record levels.
This has resulted in devastating consequences, with more than 27,000 people evacuated from their homes and losses in terms of property, businesses and earnings running up to crores. Experts attribute the unprecedented flooding in Delhi to encroachment on the river floodplain, extreme rainfall within a short period and silt accumulation that has raised the riverbed.
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