Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday visited villages along the barbed wire fence with Pakistan in Punjab’s Ferozepur district and slammed the state government for releasing water from the Harike barrage, resulting in flooding of downstream villages.
He appealed to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to take corrective steps to mitigate the sufferings of the people instead of relying on propaganda to give the impression that all concerns in the wake of damage and destruction to dwellings and fields had been addressed.
Talking to the media at Basti Ram Lal in Ferozepur Urban constituency, Badal said: “I don’t want to get into politics. My only issue is timely provision of relief to those suffering due to incessant rains and resultant flooding.
“Everywhere I have gone during the last three days people have told me that the government machinery has failed to come to their aid. The Chief Minister should have visited these flood affected areas himself to galvanize the civil administration into action.”
Badal, who toured flooded areas in Ferozepur Urban, Ferozepur Rural, and Guruharsahai constituencies, said it was unfortunate that the government had failed to meet the routine requirements of the people.
“There is a shortage of drinking water, dry rations, milk and green fodder for milch animals. I have witnessed women writhing in pain because they are unable to get medical attention. The Chief Minister should realise his responsibility and should take immediate steps to correct the situation instead of sitting in Chandigarh and giving the impression that all was well.”
Badal said people complained that all gates of the Harike barrage had been opened at the instance of an AAP MP leading to flooding of villages in its downstream.
“As much as 2.17 lakh cusecs of water was released from Harike and almost the same amount from Hussainiwala leading to flooding of village fields and destruction of the paddy crop in the area.”
He also visited flood affected village of Mehtab Singh Gatti in Ferozepur Rural district where a road alongside a bridge was damaged. He gave Rs 1 lakh from his personal funds for repairing the bridge, besides announcing to release funds for rebuilding of the road in the area from his MPLAD funds.