Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann holds roadshow, promises 70% canal water supply by October : The Tribune India

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Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann holds roadshow, promises 70% canal water supply by October

Says 6 lakh tubewells will be closed I To save Rs 6K-7K crore of electricity subsidy

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann holds roadshow, promises 70% canal water supply by October

CM Bhagwant Mann with Hoshiarpur AAP candidate Dr Rajkumar Chabbewal during a roadshow at Tanda in Hoshiarpur.Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, May 17

Holding a roadshow in support of Hoshiarpur AAP candidate Dr Rajkumar Chabbewal through the streets of Urmur Tanda in the Hoshiarpur constituency, state CM Bhagwant Mann today reiterated his promise of ensuring irrigation water through surface irrigation channels instead of groundwater in the state and taking canal water to farmers’ fields across the state.

Excessive consumption

Depletion of groundwater poses a major environmental crisis for Punjab, which has time and again been flagged amidst concerns of the state hurtling towards desertification and agricultural output being hit by 2050, owing to excessive groundwater consumption.

59% water routed through canal systems

There are currently 14.5 lakh tubewells operational in the state and we are planning to close 6 lakh of them. When I took the oath, surface (canal) water supply in state was at 21 per cent, and presently, 59 per cent water is routed through canal water systems. It will be 70 per cent by October, ie by the end of the paddy season. — Bhagwant Mann, Punjab chief minister

Speaking on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, Mann said, “They thought by jailing Kejriwal, they will end the Aam Admi Party, but they don’t know AAP people are built differently.”

Addressing crowds from atop his vehicle at the Tanda road show, the CM said, “Babasaheb wrote the country’s constitution and voting is taking place this year to save it.”Holding a portrait of Dr BR Ambedkar handed by supporters during the roadshow, Mann said, “I want to change the ‘compulsion’ of Dalits and underprivileged into their ‘wishes’. By providing state of the art health and education facilities to them, so their dreams may be realised.”

The CM reiterated AAP’s assurance that 6 lakh tube wells would be stopped by October this year, replaced by canal water supply.

Notably, depletion of groundwater in the state poses a major environmental crisis for Punjab, which has time and again been flagged amidst concerns of the state hurtling towards desertification and agricultural output being massively hit by 2050, owing to excessive groundwater consumption.

Addressing the gathering, CM Mann said, “There are currently 14.5 lakh tube wells operational in the state and we are planning to close 6 lakh of them. When I took the oath, surface (canal) water supply in state was at 21 per cent, presently 59 per cent water is routed through canal water systems. It will be 70 per cent by October, ie by the end of the paddy season. By then, 6 lakh tube wells will be closed. It will save Rs 6,000 -7,000 crore of electricity subsidy. And the money will instead be used to provide Rs 1,000 to bank accounts of women.”

Meanwhile, addressing a road show in Jalandhar in support of the AAP candidate Pawan Tinu, the CM took pointed digs at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal and BJP leader Captain Amarinder Singh.

The CM said, “We have come from the grassroots. Politicians like Sukhbir Badal go out to campaign after asking the temperature. He (Sukhbir Badal) studied at a school in the hills whereas I studied at a government school. Both didn't even occupy the CM's residences. They stayed at Sukh Vilas (a dig at the Badal's plush resort) and Siswan (Captain’s farmhouse). They came out only ahead of elections," he added.

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