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Flood threat looms over Punjab, Haryana; water level in Bhakra dam crosses critical mark….

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Rains in the northern states have claimed at least 39 lives over the weekend, triggering landslides, leaving hundreds of people stranded in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand even as flood threat looms large in Punjab, Haryana with all major rivers in spate.

Even as there was some relief from the rain, the weatherman has predicted that the downpour is likely to continue in parts of the Himachal Pradesh for another 24 hours.

Three more people were reported dead in Himachal Pradesh where heavy rains over the weekend have caused floods and landslides, increasing the toll to 26. In neighbouring Uttarakhand, the toll climbed to 12 with two more bodies being recovered on Monday. Cloudbursts have wreaked havoc in a dozen villages of Uttarkashi district, washing away houses and hectares of agricultural land.

Indian Air Force helicopters carried dramatic rescue operations in Jammu and Karnal districts on Monday.

In Ludhiana, a farmer died in a roof collapse. Breaches were reported in five places in Shahkot and Phillaur. The water level in the Bhakra dam on Monday crossed the critical mark of 1,680 feet, prompting the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to increase the outflow of water through the reservoir’s floodgates from 19,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) to 40,000 cusecs. The Punjab government declared the situation in affected areas a natural calamity after a meeting chaired by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who also allotted Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures.

In Himachal, nearly 900 people were stranded in Lahaul Spiti after snow. All major highways in the state continue to remain shut. The rains have so far caused damage adding up to Rs 574 crore, according to a state government spokesperson.

Normal life was thrown out of gear in at least 25 villages of Karnal, Yamunanagar and Panipat districts as the water of overflowing Yamuna entered the low-lying areas. Standing crops on thousands of acres were submerged and hundreds of families remained stranded as Karnal villages, including Nagla, Nagli, Sayed Chhapra, Khukhni, Dera Halwana, Nabiabad and Japti Chhapra, remained out of bounds in terms of road connectivity.

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