Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said that he has written to his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh, urging him to join hands to “check the wasteful flow of Ravi waters to Pakistan” keeping in view the “unprecedented” water crisis that looms over both the states.
Khattar told reporters at Chandigarh that in the letter, he has urged the Punjab chief minister to direct his officers concerned to take up the proposal in right earnest. The letter states, “You (Amarinder Singh) must have noticed reports about an unprecedented water crisis that looms large over our states. More and more blocks of Haryana and Punjab have anyway been slipping into the category of over-exploited blocks even as our hard-working farmers toil in the face of a stressed farm sector. I think that time has come when we must join hands in checking the wasteful flow of Ravi waters to Pakistan,” it stated.
Referring to the sixth meeting of the committee, formed by the Centre in this regard, which was held at the Central Water Commission in New Delhi in April 2012, Khattar wrote, “It had assessed the quantum of Minimum Utilizable Water (MUW) as 32 cumecs (equivalent to 0.58MAF) on a sustainable basis.” “The committee decided that the proposal for its diversion by constructing a 2 to 2.5 m high diversion structure across river Ravi with a gravity flow canal off-taking from Dharamkot to Harike Head works was viable.”
The letter, which was released to the media on Sunday, stated that the panel had also opined that any other techno-economically superior alternative that would trait the problem of implementation of the scheme, may be carried out during preparation of a detailed project report based on actual survey and investigation by an agency to be decided separately at an appropriate forum. Khattar mentioned in the letter that the Centre had accordingly asked all the partner states to build a consensus on engaging the Bhakra Beas Management Board to undertake feasibility studies and start construction, and the Punjab government may take follow-up action on the minutes of meeting held in April 2012.
“It is indeed unfortunate that there has been no visible progress on the issue so far and the ever so precious water is still going to Pakistan. This enormous national wastage of water needs to be stopped immediately. Being divertible, this water should instead be utilised for the benefits of the people of the partner states. “I, therefore, request you to direct your officers concerned to take up the proposal in right earnest. I have directed our chief secretary and principal secretary in the irrigation and water resources department to accord top priority to this,” Khattar’s letter stated.
“They shall make it convenient to attend any meeting that your officers may consider necessary on the subject so as to ensure expeditious implementation of this proposal which has already been declared as National Project by the Government of India,” it said.