Chandigarh, June 13 (IANS) Rejecting the allegations of water shortage in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, here on Thursday, said surplus river water was being discharged to Pakistan as a precautionary measure to prevent flooding along the banks of Sutlej and Beas rivers. Also, water levels at Bhakra and Pong Dams were higher than last year.
The Chief Minister was reacting to legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s allegations that canals in the state would go dry as the Punjab government was releasing water to Pakistan.
Terming the Punjab Ekta Party leader’s charges as politically motivated, the Chief Minister said Khaira was a chronic attention-seeker with no credibility and no respect for truth.
The decision to release excess water in a regulated manner to Pakistan was taken at the May 28 technical committee meeting as a precautionary measure. The meeting was attended by all partner states, said the Chief Minister in a statement.
The meeting unanimously decided to release the surplus water and harness it for additional power generation. Otherwise, the excess water released through spillway would go waste as well as cause flood in the areas located along Sutlej and Beas rivers, the committee found.
The Chief Minister ridiculed Khaira for smelling a hidden agenda and motive in a decision taken on technical grounds by all partner states. Also, there was no shortage of water in the state due to this discharge of excess water, he said.
Stating that the water requirement for cotton sowing is being fully met, the Chief Minister said water had also been released in canals to meet the demand for paddy transplantation, which started on June 13.
Contrary to Khaira’s claims of 15,000-20,000 cusecs of water being released, the Chief minister said for the past 24 days 8,700 cusecs a day were being released downstream of Ferozepur headwork’s to Pakistan and the situation was being monitored regularly.
The water release would be controlled in the coming days, he added.
The Chief Minister said as on June 13 the water level in Bhakra Dam was 1,609.43 ft, which was about 100 ft higher than last year’s and 38 ft higher than the historical high observed on this date.
At Pong Dam and Ranjit Sagar Dam, water levels were 46.41 ft and 38 feet, respectively, higher than the levels on June 13, 2018.
Due to heavy snow accumulation and normal forecast for monsoon, the inflows were expected to be higher this year, the Chief Minister said.