At least 300 Delhi Police officials from five police districts have been at work for the last two days across the Yamuna riverbank evacuating those living near the floodplains, and stopping residents from swimming or boating in the river.

The station house officers (SHOs) of at least 10 police stations of east, northeast, southeast, north and central police districts have been asked to increase their patrolling in the around the river and ask people to vacate their homes till the water recedes.

“The announcement is being done through public address systems installed in our police vans and efforts are being made to relocate the affected families to various shelter homes. We are working in close coordination with the teams of the disaster management and the Delhi government,” said Nupur Prasad, deputy commissioner of police (north).

The Delhi Traffic Police on Sunday evening also closed the Old Yamuna Bridge following orders from the district magistrate as a precautionary measure. This bridge, which is also among the oldest bridges in the city, connects the Old Delhi Railway Station with areas around Shahdara. It gets around 50,000 vehicles everyday during peak hours of morning and evening.

“We started diverting traffic from both sides of the bridge around 8pm on Sunday. Traffic is now being directed towards Geeta Colony and the ITO Bridge. The situation will continue till further orders from the DM,” said Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Police have also been posted at various bridges over the Yamuna such as ITO, Sarai Kale Khan, Geeta Colony, and Kashmere Gate, to dissuade people from swimming in the river, which in the past has claimed lives.

Following a high-level meeting on Saturday chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with the departments, deputy CM Manish Sisodia on Sunday morning inspected the low-lying areas of Pandav Nagar and Akshardham to take stock of the evacuation.

“The safety of the people is our priority at the moment. Our officials are evacuating the risk areas and moving them to safer zones,” Sisodia said.

The water level in Yamuna breached the 205 metre mark on Saturday evening after a gap of almost five years resulting in a flood-like situation in the river’s floodplains. If the river continues to rise, low-lying areas such as Shahdara, Usmanpur, Sabhapur Chauhan, Sonia Vihar, Sadatpur, Sherpur, Shahdara, Laxmi Nagar and Garhi Mandu will be the worst hit, senior government officials said.

However, the situation is likely to improve over the next 3-4 days as the IMD has predicted that heavy rain is unlikely.

Officials from the Delhi government’s revenue department, flood and irrigation department, Public Works Department, and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority have also been working to evacuate people living in these areas.

“Around 3,000 people have been evacuated. Tents have also been set up to house the people living on the banks of Yamuna. We are trying our level best to relocate more people but there have been cases where residents have been reluctant to shift to these camps. They are waiting for the water levels to go further up before they move,” said K Mahesh, district magistrate (Shahdara), who is also the nodal officer for the evacuation drill.

He said that the residents are being apprised for the gravity of the situation and convinced to follow orders. Since 2006, the water level had breached the 206m mark only thrice — 2008, 2010 and in 2013.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 11:30 IST

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