Punjab, along with other north Indian states, is facing a water crisis. File PTI photo.
- PEP chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira has accused Punjab govt of releasing 15,000 cusecs of water to Pakistan
- Sukhpal Singh Khaira questioned govt’s motive of releasing water to Pakistan when the canals in Punjab were dry
- PEP chief asked state government to stop allowing flow of Indian river waters to Pakistan with an immediate effect
Captain Amarinder Singh-led government in Punjab has been accused of releasing 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water to Pakistan on a daily basis, despite a serious water crisis in the state.
Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) chief has Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Wednesday told India Today TV that the decision to release such huge amounts of water to Pakistan was untimely and ambiguous.
"Why is government releasing approximately 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water to Pakistan daily, while all major canals of the state are dry? Is it a ploy to create record against Punjab in the waters litigations pending in the Supreme Court?" PEP Chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who says that he recently visited Harike Headworks, questioned government's motives behind allowing river waters to flow into Pakistan when there was no threat to water levels in Bhakhra dam. Harike Headworks is located at the confluence of Beas and Sutlej rivers near India-Pakistan border.
"It was highly unusual to release such huge amounts of water in the month of June, when there is no threat of rising water levels in the Bhakhra dam reservoir. While our precious river waters are flowing to Pakistan, the main canals and distributaries are running completely dry, further adding to the woes of farmers and ordinary people," Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira said it was a matter of record, that there is no water for irrigation in the main canals of Bist Doab canal and Upper Bari Doab Canal catering to the needs of farmers of Doaba and Majha, respectively.
"Major canals of Malwa are also either running much lower than their capacity or are completely dry. For example, Eastern canal that has a capacity of 3000 cusec for Ferozpur and Mukatsar districts is totally dry," the PEP chief said.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that Golewala minor and other small distributaries in Faridkot besides Ladu Wala minor with 500 cusecs have dried up. Lachman canal along the Pakistan border with 250 cusec capacity is also dry, Boha Rajwaha 250 cusec capacity has no water, Bathinda canal with 2300 cusec capacity is supplying only 250 cusec, Faridkot canal with 600 cusec capacity is also dry.
"Surprisingly, the Rajasthan feeder and Gang canal, having a capacity of 9000 cusec and 2500 cusec respectively, are overflowing. Why the canals of Punjab are dry and so much of excess water is flowing to Rajasthan?" Sukhpal Singh Khaira questioned.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that the extreme shortage of canal water in the month of June, when the heat is at its peak, has created massive resentment and hue and cry amongst the farmers, leading to protest at Mansa and Barnala district headquarters. Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the citizens of Malwa are also short of drinking water.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira urged CM Captain Amarinder Singh - who is also the Irrigation Minister- to wake up and immediately stop excess flow of water to Pakistan and to use the same for irrigation by fairly allocating this 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs water to our canal network in the state, so that farmers can irrigate their current crops. The PEP chief said that appropriate water supply to Punjab farmers will also help them prepare for the paddy sowing and will help recharge groundwater and improve water table in the state.