PANCHKULA: A few hours of rainfall on Friday caused havoc in , forcing residents to call the to pump out water from their houses and roads.
Streets virtually turned into rivers after the Chandigarh meteorological department recorded 87mm of rainfall at the airport observatory, which lies closest to Panchkula. Sectors 19 and 20 were the worst-hit. Residents struggled to drain the water from their homes, trying all methods like carrying buckets and calling the fire brigade. Many residents said the flooding had damaged valuables like refrigerators, washing machines, beds and furniture.

Fire brigade vehicle drains water in Panchkula on Friday

Kamal Kumar and Rita Rani, both residents of Sector 19, said, “This is an annual problem. A few hours of rain disrupts normal life. Water enters houses, making life hell for the next few days. Slush and garbage is accompanied by storm water because of which foul smell keeps emanating from our homes for days. It seems we need boats to commute in Panchkula.” In Sector 19, a clogged drain led to sewage entering houses.

Drain water enters homes in sectors 19, 20

As a ‘nullah’ (drain) started overflowing, mud, sand, slush and garbage collected on driveway of houses once the water receded. Amit Jhalan, a resident of Sector 19, said, “The mud settled on the floor of our house, emitting foul smell and heightening the risk of an epidemic. Panchkula administration has failed to give relief from this menace for past many years.”

The condition of roads was similar in Zirakpur, which shares its borders with sectors 19 and 20 of Panchkula. The Zirakpur-Patiala intersection under the flyover was flooded. Major traffic jams were seen on this stretch. Punjab traffic police personnel were seen managing the traffic in around knee-deep water.

Residents hold protest

Residents of Sector 19 came out on the roads to protest after water entered their houses. They raised slogans against the administration and the municipal corporation (MC). Residents Dinesh Pathak, Bachna Devi, Sangeeta, Anita, Surinder Laddi, Nirmal Kumar, Robin and others said they have been living in hell. They said, “We have been pressing for our demands for past many years, but no one from the administration or the MC has helped us.” The protesters burnt the effigy of the MP and MLA. Local Congress leader Ranjita Mehta accompanied the protesters.

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