Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal has taken swift action in response to the escalating water levels in the Yamuna river by convening an emergency meeting. Recognising the potential threat to vulnerable low-lying areas, the Chief Minister has directed officials to ensure the safe evacuation of residents and provide comprehensive support at designated relief centres. The Delhi Government, under the leadership of CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal, has made meticulous arrangements to address the situation and aid in relief and rescue operations. Residents are being encouraged to seek assistance from the government in vacating their homes to ensure their safety. As part of the preparedness measures, extensive relief camps have been established throughout Delhi. In the event of further requirements, nearby schools will be converted into temporary relief camps, accommodating affected individuals and families. These centres will provide essential facilities and support to those in need.
The current water levels in the Yamuna river have surpassed a 40-year record, reaching an alarming height of 207.71 metres this afternoon itself. CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal highlighted the historical context by mentioning the flooding that occurred when the river touched the 207.49-meter mark in 1978. While Delhi has not experienced significant rainfall in the past few days, the surge in Yamuna’s water levels can be attributed to abnormally high discharge from the Hathni Kund Barrage.
CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal has warned that the situation might exacerbate as large amounts of water were discharged from Hathni Kund on Tuesday, with the subsequent inflow expected to further elevate water levels in Delhi. Concerned about the situation, the CM has appealed to the Union Home Minister to restrict the discharge of water from Hathni Kund. However, Union Water Minister Shri Gajendra Shekhawat has informed the CM that limiting the discharge is not possible as there is no reservoir at Hathni Kund. Despite a gradual reduction in water discharge from Himachal, it will take time for the water levels in Yamuna to recede to normal. CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal has acknowledged the ongoing efforts to manage the situation and assures the public that every possible action is being taken to address the challenges posed by the flooding. The Chief Minister has also expressed his gratitude to numerous NGOs and Gurudwaras that have stepped forward to support the relief efforts undertaken by the Delhi Government.
The emergency meeting was held at the Delhi Secretariat this evening. Besides the CM, the meeting was attended by Development Minister Shri Gopal Rai, Revenue Minister Ms Atishi, Water Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj, and senior officials of the concerned departments.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “The water level of the Yamuna river unfortunately has continued to rise and therefore there is a flood-like situation in the areas near the river. The danger level of the Yamuna in Delhi is 205.33 metre. At this moment, the water has breached this level and it is at 207.71. The last time the water level in the river was so high was in 1978, when there was a flood-like situation and the water had reached a maximum of 207.49 metres. At the moment, unfortunately we have surpassed this 45-year-old record, as well.”
The Delhi CM pointed out that the level of the Yamuna was so high because of the water coming from Himachal Pradesh. “According to the information from the Central Water Commission, the level was to reach 207.72 later tonight between 10-11 pm, but unfortunately we have already reached that level today. We have seen that in the last two days it has not rained much in Delhi, so most of this water is coming from behind – it is coming from Himachal Pradesh via Haryana. The Hathnikund barrage is situated in Haryana and it is on the opening of this barrage that the water enters Delhi,” he said.
He added, “A little while ago, I had written a letter to the Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah requesting him that, if possible, the amount of water entering the Yamuna in Delhi be reduced. It is obvious that the water has to be released, but if this release is gradual, then we can ensure that the level of the Yamuna in Delhi does not rise a lot. A little while ago, I also spoke to the Union Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. He informed me that at Hathnikund, there is only a barrage and there is no reservoir, so there is no provision to stop the flow of water over there. But he also informed me that the amount of water being released in Himachal Pradesh has decreased slightly and the effect of this will be felt in Delhi a little later. Meanwhile, yesterday a lot of water had been released from there and the effect of it will only be felt in Delhi after 24 hours. So, for the time being, we are expecting the water levels in the river to rise further.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the priority of the Delhi Government at the moment is to evacuate those living in the low-lying areas near the river. “Our attempt right now is to make sure that we do everything possible to save the lives of the people residing in the low-lying areas near the river and to save their properties. Therefore I would like to appeal to the citizens living in these areas to not delay the process and leave their houses at the earliest. It is possible that the water levels may suddenly rise and the people later may not have the time to vacate their houses,” he said.
The Delhi CM listed out the affected areas due to the rise in the water level of the Yamuna river. “The areas already affected by the floods are Boat Club, Monastery Market, Neeli Chhatri Temple near Old Railway Bridge, Yamuna Bazaar, Geeta Ghat, Vishwakarma Khadda colony, Garhi Mandu, the stretch between Majnu ka Tila to Wazirabad. The people living in low-lying areas in Usmanpur, Badarpur Khadar, DND, Pushta Mayur Vihar, main Yamuna Road in Jagatpur, Bhelopur Shamshaan Ghat in Sarai Kale Khan, Jain Mandir, Gyaspur, the slums around Millennium Depot, also need to start leaving their houses,” he said.
He requested those who are going to visit the low-lying areas to click selfies to avoid such misadventure. “We are also seeing that people are going to these low-lying areas to click photos and selfies. I would urge them to not do this as the water level can rise suddenly and it could be dangerous for these people. The state government has taken several steps to provide relief and evacuation to the citizens. The people living in these areas have the option of either taking the help of government agencies for their evacuation or they could do this on their own and shift into a relative’s house elsewhere,” he said.
He added, “We have already established several relief camps, and are in the process of establishing more if the need for them arises. I just held a meeting with the District Magistrates of several areas and have urged them to even close down schools in the low-lying areas temporarily and use those spaces to establish relief camps.”
The Delhi CM concluded by thanking those who are already assisting in the relief work and said that it was the time for the people of Delhi to come together. “Several NGOs are also assisting us at the moment and we would like to thank them for their efforts. Several gurudwaras have also set-up langars and are feeding the affected people. We would like to thank them as well for their efforts. This is an opportunity to help each other and therefore we request everybody else who can come forward and assist in any way to do that and help the state government,” he said.
At the same time, Revenue Minister Ms Atishi said that the Delhi government has arranged 50 boats to provide immediate relief to the people in the flood-affected areas. All these boats have been deployed at a distance of two kilometres each from Palla to Okhla Barrage.