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50 feet breach in Yamuna Canal
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, August 18
A breach of about 50 feet in the Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) flooded several acres in the Chhacchrouli area in the wee hours today. The water supply to the canal has been stopped and repair works have started. The power generation from the hydro-electric project situated on the canal has also been stopped.

Extra pressure on the WYC due to the non-availability of water in the Narwana branch from the Bhakra Main Line canal for the past few days, unauthorised and rampant mining along the WYC bed, silting of the canal beds and torrential rains during the past 24 hours are believed to be reasons behind the breach.

Due to the non-availability of water from the Bhakra main line to the Narwana branch, Haryana was overdrawing water from the WYC for the past few days to meet irrigation needs of the state.

Sources said Punjab was carrying out repair works on the Narwana branch canal near Rajpura in Patiala district, affecting the water supply from the Bhakra canal. A portion of the branch was washed away on August 4. “In the absence of supply from the Bhakra main canal, the pressure on the WYC has increased significantly in the past 10 days”, said a senior Haryana official on condition of anonymity.

According to information available, after heavy rain during the past 24 hours, the water flow in the Yamuna increased and a part of the WYC at Burji Number 50 near Jaidhari village breached. Standing paddy crop over several acres was submerged under the waters. Some low-lying slum areas were also flooded. The breach was noticed in the morning.

It is to be noted that because of rampant mining along the bed of the WYC, several portions in the canal between Hatnikund Barrage and Dadupur have weakened. Villagers said mining contractors have broken the embankment of the canal at several places to make way for their trucks and tractor-trolleys. “On several occasions we brought the matter to the notice of officials of the Irrigation Department but they have not taken any action”, said a villager.

Meanwhile, panic spread in the area when the breach was noticed in the morning and people climbed on to roofs of their houses. Mr Kanwar Pal, BJP MLA from the area who had resigned in protest against Punjab’s annulment of all water-sharing agreements, reportedly informed the district administration about the breach. On Sunday, the Deputy Commissioner had issued instructions to officials of the Irrigation Department to patrol the canal.

Sources in the Irrigation Department said torrential rains during the past 24 hours and silting of the canal caused the breach. “Due to the flooding of seasonal rivulets and heavy rains, the discharge in the canal increased up to 22,000 cusecs this morning and this may be one of the reasons for the breach”, said an official.

The administration, however, claimed that the situation was under control and the breach has not caused any major harm in the area. Deputy Commissioner Vijayender Kumar has ordered special girdawari in the area to assess the loss to the farmers.
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