Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday sanctioned Rs 55 crore for flood protection and desilting of drains with directions to complete the works before the onset of the monsoon.

Chairing a virtual meeting to review the state’s flood preparedness, the Chief Minister asked the Finance Department to immediately place Rs 50 crore with the Deputy Commissioners to carry out the desilting of drains before June 30, and complete the flood protection works by the first week of July.

An additional Rs 5 crore has been allocated to the Water Resources Department for any emergency works that may be needed in this regard.

During the meeting, discussions were also held on a set of three initial reports submitted by Israel’s national water company, Mekorot Development and Enterprise Ltd, on the state’s water situation and roadmap for tackling the water crisis.

The state had in June last year signed an agreement with the company for formulation of water conservation and management master plan for the state.

A government statement said as per decisions taken in meetings with Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) authorities, outflows have been increased to an average of 30,000 cusecs from the Bhakra reservoir and the reservoir level on May 26 stood at 1,561.06 feet, which is 53.5 feet lower than the last year’s level of 1,614.56 feet.

The outflows from the Pong Reservoir have also been increased to an average of 15,000 cusecs and the reservoir level as on May 26 was 1,346.54 feet against 1337.72 feet last year.

The Pong reservoir is mainly rainfed and has little to no snowmelt inflows.