Captain Amarinder Singh-led government in Punjab has been accused of releasing 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water to Pakistan on a daily basis, despite a serious water crisis in the state.
“Why is government releasing approximately 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water to Pakistan daily, while all major canals of the state are dry? Is it a ploy to create record against Punjab in the waters litigations pending in the Supreme Court?” Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) Chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira said Wednesday.
Reacting to the allegation, the chief minister said the decision to release excess water in a regulated manner was a “precautionary measure” taken by a technical committee meeting held on May 28, in which all partner states were represented.
“The surplus water is being discharged as a precautionary measure to prevent flooding in the areas along the Sutlej and the Beas rivers,” Singh said in an official release here.
“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 Bhakra dam reservoir. 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,” Sukhpal Singh Khaira however said.
“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 Ferozepur and Muktsar districts is totally dry,” the PEP chief said.
“If it was not done now then the excess water released through spillway will not only go to waste, but also cause flood damages in the areas located along the Sutlej and the Beas rivers,” the Chief Minister claimed, adding that there was no shortage of water as a result of this discharge.
“Had the decision to go in for precautionary releases not been taken, the Sutlej river was sure to experience releases from Bhakra in the range of 50,000 to 2,00,000 cusecs during the months of July and August, which would trigger floods,” Singh said.