Release of water into Pakistan riles farmers

FEROZEPUR: The discharge of thousands of cusecs of water into Pakistan from the Hussainiwala headworks has ruffled the farming community ahead of the paddy-sowing season.

editorial@tribune.com

Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, June 10

The discharge of thousands of cusecs of water into Pakistan from the Hussainiwala headworks has ruffled the farming community ahead of the paddy-sowing season.

It has also contradicted the Central government’s stand in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack when Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari had declared that India would not allow any amount of its river water to flow into Pakistan.

As per information, almost 14,000 cusecs water is being released into Pakistan from Hussainiwala, which the farmers term as total wastage of the natural resource.

Karan Singh Dhaliwal, secretary, Border Kisan Union, said while some districts like Sangrur had been placed in the dark zone due to exploitation of groundwater, the release of water into Pakistan was unwarranted. Even Punjab Ekta Party leader Sukhpal Khaira had raised his concern over release of excess water across the border.

Meanwhile, sources in the drainage department said all three dams, including Bhakra, were filled to the brim. At Bhakra, while the inflow was recorded at 27,298 cusecs on Monday, the outflow was 35,000 cusecs.

HS Chahal, Superintendent Engineer (Canals), Ferozepur, said water was being released into Pakistan as a preventive measure ahead of the monsoon season to avoid any untoward situation later. “We are gradually releasing the excess water so that there are no chances of flooding of the area as more inflow is expected in the coming weeks,” he said.

“There is no option but to release this water into Pakistan,” said another department official, adding that if the water was not released, it might cause colossal damage in the coming days. Sanjeev Gupta, Chief Engineer (Drainage), said it was a high-alert situation as far as water in dams was concerned. “We cannot take chances as the situation might go out of control,” he said.

Sources said earlier, the capacity of Hussainiwala headworks was about 4.5 lakh cusecs but due to presence of hyacinth and encroachment at some places along the Sutlej, the capacity had come down to almost one lakh cusecs over a period of time, which had compounded the problem.

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