An alert has been sounded in several districts of Punjab following the release of excess water from Bhakra dam through the spill gates after heavy rain in its catchment area on Saturday. The Bhakra Beas Management Board authorities discharged 17,000 cusecs of excess water of the total release of 53,000 cusecs through the spill gates, an official said. The remaining 36,000 cusecs was released after its use for power generation, he added. The official said that the situation was being monitored closely. Bhakra dam on Saturday recorded a water level of 1,674.75 feet, around 60 feet more than the corresponding period last year. The maximum filling capacity of the reservoir is 1,680 feet. The water inflow in Bhakra dam has been recorded at 59,000 cusecs, the official said.Partnering States Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are the partnering States which meet their requirement for different purposes, including irrigation, from Bhakra and Pong dams. Both these dams were to be filled up to the level of 1,680 feet and 1,390 feet respectively by September. On Saturday, rain lashed several places in Punjab, including Ludhiana, Amritsar, Mohali, Chandigarh. An alert has already been sounded in several districts, including Rupnagar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur and downstream areas in the wake of release of excess water from Bhakra dam, the official said. People living near the Sutlej river and low-lying areas have been advised to be vigilant and take precautions to safeguard themselves. There are reports of crops getting submerged in water in some villages adjoining the Sutlej river in Anandpur Sahib of Rupnagar district due to the release of excess water and rainfall. “An advisory has already been issued to the people living near the Sutlej river. The district authority is fully geared up to deal with any situation,” Rupnagar Deputy Commissioner Sumeet Jarangal said.Heavy rain forecast The Punjab government had on Friday also issued an alert in the State after a forecast of heavy rain in the next 48 to 72 hours. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had directed the Deputy Commissioners across the State to stay vigilant in view of the met department’s prediction and ensure the safety and security of the people.