Water: Need to rise above petty politics

Kuldip Nayar’s Human Rights Diary (Oped Page, June 10) has rightly put the National Human Rights Commission in the dock for its failure to investigate the reasons leading to suicide by farmers in Andhra Pradesh and suggest necessary measures, short and long term, to mitigate the woes of the poor peasantry.

The issue of river waters dispute, be it between Punjab and Haryana or Tamil Nadu and Karnataka again concerns the lifeline of farmers of these states. Emotions on water can run high in no time. There is an urgent need to rise above petty politics and formulate a policy which will look after the interest of everyone in these states. A body of eminent people, impartial judges and technocrats should study the issue and its recommendations should be binding on all concerned.

Brig. H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula





P.S. Kumedan, offering his expert opinion on river waters, has suggested to charge royalties from Haryana and Rajasthan for water released to them from Punjab resources (June 12). When Punjab really meant a state of five rivers, Haryana formed an integral part of it not only after the Jhelum and the Chenab went away from us but till Haryana was carved out as a separate state. However, the three rivers now flowing through Punjab do not originate there but enter from Himachal Pradesh. Kumedan’s logic would then make Punjab pay royalties to Himachal.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantt.


The Punjab government must take the Supreme Court’s 78-page judgement about the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal seriously and try honestly to implement the same. It is time the people of Haryana got justice. Most politicians in Punjab have been trotting out the same old excuses that Punjab is a riparian state, Haryana has already got its share of water from the Punjab rivers and the Eradi Tribunal has now outlived its utility. What a cruel joke with the people of Haryana!

Have Punjab leaders forgotten that Haryana was a part of Punjab before 1966? This is a dispute between two real brothers and nothing else. I find the editorial “Muddied water” (June 10) very logical with its million-dollar argument ”Ideally, rivers should be seen as a national asset to which every state is entitled to an equitable share”. We ought to evolve a national consensus on sharing of river waters.

I firmly support the idea of connecting all the rivers of the country for revamping the irrigation facilities. Punjab leaders should appreciate the genuine problems of the farmers of Haryana.

Moreover, as a younger brother, Haryana should get justice soon.

Dr R.B.YADAV DEHATI, Kathmandi, Fatehabad

Vagaries of pronunciation

IN the ‘Leaf from History’ (June 8), the writer says that Britons referred to the ‘Amballa’ area as ‘Umballa’ and Indian Railways still does so in its documents. He adds that according to one view this was probably because of the “difference in pronunciation between the British and Indians”.

The actual position in this matter, it seems, was a little different. The British in the days of the East India Company had a problem with the spellings of place-names in India. Like other compatriots of theirs, they tended to pronounce the vowel ‘a’ as in ‘man’ or ‘ran’ which did not fit in with the local pronunciation of say ‘Ambala’, ‘Amritsar’ etc. Instead the initial vowel there had the sound of ‘u’ as in ‘cup’ or ‘bun’ or ‘run’. As a result, they decided to adopt the spelling ‘Umballa’ or ‘Umritsar’ in all such names.

This continued for quite some time but then it appeared the change had caused an even more serious difficulty. Most Indians pronounced that vowel ‘u’ like ‘u’ in ‘pull’ or ‘bull’ and not as had been intended like ‘u’ in ‘cup’. It was, therefore, decided to revert to the earlier practice of spelling the names as ‘Ambala’, ‘Amritsar’, as a less unsatisfactory alternative.

Some exceptions still remained as noted in the article itself. For instance, in official records, ‘Umbala’ continued to be used and “Delhi-Ambala-Kalka” line also remains “DUK” line, but the general rule was to spell the names as ‘Ambala’, ‘Amritsar’, etc, as was done previously. Thus, the vagaries of pronunciation in English, in which practically each vowel and consonant revels in having more than one sound to its name, had the last laugh there.


Inflows at Bhakra

Apropos of the editorial “Bhakra fright” (June 17), the inflows at Bhakra are contributed by snowmelt run-off to the tune 50-60 per cent and balance by rainfall. About 50 per cent of snowmelt run-off is received between April and June, bulk of which come in from middle of May to end of June when the ambient temperature is high.

The releases from reservoirs are decided by the Technical Committee of BBMB having representatives from the irrigation and power utilities of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan which meets every months, keeping in view the requirement of the states for irrigation and the position of reservoirs.

The snowmelt run-off at Bhakra this year, particularly in May and June, has been very poor due to less snowfall and unfavourable weather conditions including low ambient temperatures persisting in the catchments of the Sutlej and the Beas rivers. The releases from the Bhakra during April and May, 2004, have been normal and not excessive and have been as per the decisions taken by the Technical Committee of BBMB.

The generation at Bhakra complex has been 337 million units (MU) and 428 MU during April and May, 2004, respectively as against the average generation of 380 and 499 MU during the same months from1985 to 2003. Thus, it may appreciated that low reservoir level at Bhakra in June 2004 was due to the vagaries of nature and not excessive generation maintained during the run-up to the elections. In last few days, inflows at Bhakra have increased due to increase in ambient temperature. The level is now rising and generation at Bhakra will be increased shortly.

Secretary, Bhakra Beas Management Board, Chandigarh


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