While addressing the media at Chandigarh today, PEP President Sukhpal Singh Khaira questioned the untimely and ambiguous move of the government to daily release large amounts of river waters to Pakistan, while all the canals of the state are dry and the farmers are up in arms against the government for extreme paucity of water.
Khaira said he had made a spot visit to the Harike headworks a couple of days ago, to find huge quantum of Punjab river waters approximately 15k-20k cusec constantly flowing to Pakistan daily.
Khaira said it was highly unusual to release such huge amounts of water in the month of June, when there is no threat of rising water levels in the Bhakhra dam reservoir.
Khaira said while our precious river waters are flowing to Pakistan, the main canals and distributaries are running completely dry further adding to the woes of farmers and ordinary people.
Khaira said it was a matter of record, that there is no water for irrigation in the main canals of Bist Doab canal and UBDC (Upper Bari Doab Canal) catering to the needs of farmers of Doaba and Majha respectively.
Khaira said similarly major canals of Malwa are also either running much lower than their capacity or are completely dry. For example, Eastern canal that has a capacity of 3000 cusec for Ferozpur and Mukatsar districts is totally dry.
Similarly, Golewala minor and other small distributaries in Faridkot are completely dry, Ladu Wala minor with 500 cusecs is also dry, Lachman canal along the Pakistan border with 250 cusec capacity is also dry, Boha Rajwaha 250 cusec capacity has no water, Bathinda canal with 2300 cusec capacity is supplying only 250 cusec, Faridkot canal with 600 cusec capacity is also dry.
Khaira said surprisingly the Rajasthan feeder and Gang canal having a capacity of 9000 cusec and 2500 cusec respectively, are overflowing with much more water than their capacity. Why the canals of Punjab are dry and so much of excess water is flowing to Rajasthan?
Khaira said that extreme shortage of canal water in the month of June when the heat is at its peak has created massive resentment and hue and cry amongst the farmers, leading to “Dharna’s” by them at many district headquarters of Mansa and Barnala. Khaira said the citizens of Malwa are also short of drinking water at the tail ends of Punjab.
Khaira said Punjab already stands badly discriminated and cheated of its legitimate river waters by the government of India, that allocated its precious waters to Rajasthan and Haryana by throwing to winds the international riparian laws and the constitution of India.
Khaira said it is common knowledge that Rajasthan alone owes Punjab Rs. 16 lac crore for its waters that have illegitimately and unconstitutionally flown during the last many decades, as per the estimates of agriculture experts of PAU Ludhiana.
Khaira stated that as per rough estimates if approximately 18 k cusec of our water is flowing to Pakistan daily and constantly since 31st May 2019, the losses would be to the tune of Rs. 4400 crore everyday, at a meagre cost of Rs. 1 per litre water. The calculation is based on the following formula –
1 cusec of water flow per second carries 28.317 litre of water
Flow of water in a minute
28.317 litre X 60 = 1699.02 litre
Flow of 18000 cusec water in a minute
18000 X 1699.02 = 30582360 litre
Flow of total water in an hour
60 X 30582360 = 183.5 cr litre
Flow of total water in 24 hours
24 X 183.5 cr litre = 4404 cr litre
Total cost of water @ Rs 1/litre is Rs. 4404 crore
Khaira said there is every possibility that by allowing such large water flow to Pakistan, the Government of India may be creating a record of excess river water against Punjab to be misused in the pending multiple litigations in the Supreme Court.
Khaira urged CM Capt. Amarinder Singh who is also the Irrigation Minister to wake up and immediately stop excess flow of water to Pakistan and to use the same for irrigation by fairly allocating this 15k to 20k cusec water to our canal network in the state, so that farmers can irrigate their current crops, also prepare for the sowing of paddy and this will help recharge of groundwater and improve water table in Punjab.