CPS questions viability of Rs 75-crore Banur canal project

CHANDIGARH: A Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) in Akali-BJP government and a close aide of the Badal family is at loggerheads with the Irrigation Department on the viability of the Rs 75-crore project to construct a dam on Ghaggar to feed Banur canal.

editorial@tribune.com

Amaninder Pal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13

A Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) in Akali-BJP government and a close aide of the Badal family is at loggerheads with the Irrigation Department on the viability of the Rs 75-crore project to construct a dam on Ghaggar to feed Banur canal.

The canal irrigates land of 60 villages around Banur and Rajpura towns of SAS Nagar and Patiala district, respectively. The construction of the dam is lying suspended after the villagers had organised massive protest on Wednesday.

Dera Bassi MLA and CPS NK Sharma is vehemently opposing the project in the current form and questioning the quantum of water discharge in the river being claimed by the department to construct the dam.

Citing a report by the a Mohali-based independent laboratory prepared after analysing discharge at hourly basis on Sunday, Sharma claimed that the average discharge in the river was only 114 cusecs as compared to 400 cusecs claimed by the department.

The project has brought the department and residents of around 86 villages located downstream at loggerheads. While the department claims that the water discharge would be enough for continuous supply of 200 cusecs to villages located downstream. However, villagers are not ready to buy the claim. The department claims that the discharge would be sufficient to meet the irrigation demands of 86 villages.

“What the residents of 86 villages are claiming is correct. Water discharge is far lower than the department’s claims. We have also got an analysis done from an independent laboratory that shows an average water discharge of less than 120 cusecs. I am not against the project. But I fail to understand how the department is claiming that the project is viable,” Sharma told TNS.

Adding that the project needed some design modifications to make it viable, he added, “It would hardly serve any purpose in the present form. If the department wants to go ahead with the project, then reservoir should be big enough to store water for at least 10 days so that it water could be easily divided between the canal and villages located downstream.”

However, a senior department official overseeing the project said, “The project has been cleared by the government after our scientists conducted detailed studies about its viability. Therefore, we rely on our studies. We will assure all stakeholders about its viability before resuming the work,” he added.

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