Three days after the death of thousands of fish in the Rajasthan canal,the Harike canal department revealed that it had released water,stored for months in a reservoir,into the channel on the same day that the fish had turned up dead. The released water had been stored for nearly six months before it was directly sent into Rajasthan canal located between Harike Pattan in Ferozepur and Faridkot district. While it is normal practice for the department to store water and release it into channels to assuage shortage,questions are now being raised on the quality of the water.
The stored water is never filtered and causes a pungent smell. The canal department itself confirms that the smell in that water could have suffocated the fish. Balwinder Singh,executive engineer Harike Pattan,however,said water from the Sutlej was more contaminated when compared to the Beas. We had to release water as per the share of a particular canal and whatever water comes to us from the Sutlej or Beas,the same is released. So contamination is somewhere else and not at our end, Singh added.
He,however,said that the current situation in the canal has been brought under control. Now more water has come from the Beas and the entire water has been diluted,the problem was two days back only and now no death has been reported, Singh said.
Sources,on the other hand,revealed that contaminated water mostly with sewer disposal and industrial effluents reach the Harike headworks,but when released in large quantities,their effect is diluted. Two days back,however,the released water,they added,had high concentration of effluents resulting in the damage. The department did not rule out flow of effluents in the river which travel to Rajasthan feeder .
The water is used in many districts of Rajasthan for drinking and irrigation purposes. DC Faridkot Ravi Bhagat when asked said: I asked the canal department to stop the sale of fish as complaints of dead fish being sold has been pouring in.