Sukhna Lake floodgates opened, villages downstream affected


Chandigarh, Aug 23 : As the two floodgates of the rain-fed Sukhna Lake were opened here on Sunday for this first time this monsoon season, several low-lying villages downstream were inundated. Officials told IANS that two of the three floodgates of the lake were opened after the water level rose alarmingly owing to overnight downpour in the catchment area. The water level reached close to the danger mark of 1,163 feet. A police post at Baltana town in Punjab, some 10 km from here, was inundated. Several villages like Kishangarh and slums located along the Patiala Ki Rao choe, where the outflow of the lake was released, were affected. "We had alerted residents of villages located in the lake periphery ahead of the water release," an official of the Engineering Wing of the Chandigarh administration told IANS. On September 24, 2018, two floodgates of the lake were opened owing to heavy rainfall after a gap of 10 years. The area of Sukhna Lake, which has Kasauli hills and lower Shivaliks in its backdrop, has shrunk by nearly 57 per cent owing to high siltation. In the past four decades, construction of over 200 check dams in the Sukhna choe and other rivulets, which feed the lake from the catchment areas of neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, has decreased the amount of water flowing into the water body. The man-made lake now has a capacity of around 500 hectare metres of water against its original capacity of over 1,074 hectare metres in the late 1950s when it was built. /IANS


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