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TO FLOW water into Saraswati River, the BJP government in Haryana may divert part of its Yamuna canal’s water on to its route, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar told the Assembly on Friday. “It’s not that there would be flow of immense water (in Saraswati). But, whatever is possible (will be done) whether through small dams or by diverting little water of Yamuna because the water will remain in Haryana,” said Khattar. “If the water is diverted, then it can be used up to Sirsa,” said the CM, who was replying to a discussion on the Governor’s address on the fifth day of the budget session.
The state government had last August pumped water into a largely dry channel that is said to be the route of the Saraswati and made claims of “reviving the river”. The opposition has been blaming the BJP government for trying to exploit people’s sentiments over emotional issues.
The Yamuna Canal, also known as Jamuna Canal, is one of the oldest of renowned canals in erstwhile undivided Punjab province. It was utilised as a canal in one of the river creeks since 1356 AD. The Western Yamuna canal is meant to irrigate the fields of Haryana while the Eastern Yamuna Canal is for neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
The Haryana government has a long-term plan to increase the capacity of the canal system connected with the Western Yamuna Canal to 4,500 cusecs from the current 2,000 cusecs.
“My idea is to maintain the belief in Saraswati…so that the faith of people remains attached to it,” said the CM. He also denied the allegation that they (BJP) have attached the issue of Saraswati to Hindutva.
Raising the issue in the Assembly, Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal said the BJP government had hurriedly named a route of the state as Saraswati. “You search Saraswati, it’s a matter of honour for all of us….But this is Khattar Saraswati,” said Dalal, raising questions over the Saraswati route as claimed by the BJP government. Referring to a book, he said, “The book mentions that there was Saraswati in the past, but it’s not known where.”