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Bhakra to reduce water supply to 4 states
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) today decided to reduce water supply for irrigation to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in the wake of the delayed monsoon and inadequate melting of snow.

Describing the situation as “critical”, board chairman UC Misra told The Tribune these were the months when the reservoirs are filled but the water levels were depleting. “We don’ want to end up in a worse water crisis during the depleting period that begins after September 20. We have now decided to arrest the depletion and maintain the reservoir levels,” he said.

From today the outflow has been decreased from the current 28,000 cusecs to 20,000 cusecs. This would lead to Punjab undertaking rotational use of its main canals adversely affecting the farmers of the Malwa belt.

At a meeting held today with representatives of the four states, the BBMB chief made the situation clear. “The states have agreed to our decision and this would remain in force till July 10, when we meet again for a review of the situation,” he added.

Misra said the next ten days would be vital in how things work out. “In case there is no rainfall and the snow melting does not pick up we might have to reduce the outflow further,” he stated.

The water inflow into the Bhakra and Pong reservoirs today was about 32,600 cusecs while last year on the same day it was 42,799 cusecs.

Misra added since power generation was directly linked to the release of water there would also be a decrease in power production following Thursday’s decision. “As on today we’re generating 354 lakh units of electricity from our hydro projects,” he noted.

Reacting to a statement by Punjab Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon that BBMB had released an “extra” 2.6 lakh cusecs of water to Rajasthan, which had led to a fall in Punjab’s share, Misra asserted these allegations were absolutely false. “All the water that is released has to go via Punjab. If Rajasthan got extra water it could have been possible only following an arrangement with Punjab. We were not in the picture as we don’t give any water beyond the preplanned sharing proportions,” he stated.

Sekhon has asked paddy farmers across the state to be careful in choosing the amount of area that they intended to cultivate due to decreased irrigation.

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