Protesters block highway in flood-hit Haryana (Lead)

July 8th, 2010 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 8 (IANS) Scores of people blocked the National Highway-1 Thursday morning to protest the unavailability of water and electricity in flood-affected Shahbad town of Haryana’s Kurukshetra district.
Hundreds of vehicles on the busy highway that links Delhi were caught in a jam even as authorities and the police tried to persuade the protesters to lift the blockade.

Haryana’s Kurukshetra and Ambala districts have been flooded for three days due to heavy rains followed by breaches in rivers Ghaggar and Tangri as well as the Narvana canal.

“We understand the situation and we very well know the circumstances in the region. Power supply was disconnected to avoid any untoward incident as rain water had accumulated in the power stations,” Pankaj Aggarwal, deputy commissioner of Kurukshetra, told IANS.

“The chief engineer has promised that power supply will be restored in five to six hours,” he said.

Aggarwal added: “The protest is peaceful and we have engaged enough security personnel to control the situation. We will make sure the protest does not affect smooth flow of traffic on the busy route.”

The overall situation is improving in Kurukshetra, he said, adding that the heavy rainfall caused around 30-foot breach in the SYL (Satluj-Yamuna link) canal near Jyotisar.

Shyam Kadiyan, one of the protesters, said: “We are living without electricity and clean drinking water for two days. Now rains have stopped but power supply has not been restored. It is intolerable in this hot and humid weather.”

Rail traffic on the Ambala-Delhi section has been diverted via Saharanpur as the tracks in the section have sunk at some places near Shahbad town, 65 km from Chandigarh.

Rail traffic has been badly affected in the Ambala division over the last three days due to widespread rainfall in the region.

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