Two days after Pakistan alleged that release of two lakh cusecs of water into Sutlej without any intimation from Harike Headworks in Ferozepur had created a flood-like situation there, Ferozepur DC accused Islamabad of sending “double the water back and flooding border villages” here.
Chander Gaind, Ferozepur DC, said, “We are not releasing any water towards Pakistan. In fact, it is a natural course of the river that water first goes towards Pakistan via Harike Headworks and then comes back to India. However, Pakistan has added more trouble for flood affected villages of Punjab by opening six gates of a dam built over Sutlej river in Kasur district (in Pakistan) and hence polluted water of tanneries of Pakistan was added in the river water which was now coming back to India.” Pakistan’s tannery industry is famous for its leather exports and there are over 300 tanneries in Kasur.
“Double that water that flowed from our side is coming back and that too is polluted, stinking…It has affected 17 villages in border areas of Ferozepur,” said the DC, who was in Gatti Rajoke Wednesday morning.
Pawan Kapur, Superintending Engineer, Drainage Department, Ferozepur division while talking with The Indian Express said,”Pakistan is sending more water and rather polluted water of tanneries via Kasur Nallah which is being added in Sutlej river. This is an old problem of the area and during floods, it has aggravated…polluted water is flooding people’s crops here.”
Punjab Canal Department also debunked Pakistan claim on excess water release. A department official told The Indian Express that out of 2.5 lakh cusecs of water released from Ropar Headworks, only 1.60 lakh cusecs reached Harike Headworks. “When only 1.6 lakh cusecs water reached at Harike headworks, how can India release 2 lakh cusecs water to Pakistan? Rather out of this 1.6 lakh cusecs, water first goes towards Hussainiwala, scatters within Ferozepur, and a part of it goes towards Pakistan via a creek and then it comes back as well because of natural course of the river,” he said.
Ferozepur MLA Parminder Pinki, in whose constituency 17 flooded villages are located, said, “Villages like Gatti Rajoke, Gatti Badshah, Gatti Harike were badly hit. We rescued many villagers…” Gatti Rajoke is the last village in India in Gatti area of Ferozepur which is close to the barbed fence.
DC Ferozepur said,”As overflow is coming from Pakistan and that too polluted one, we had already made advance arrangements of Army, BSF and NDRF in the area who are rescuing people. Till Wednesday, nearly 368 villagers have been rescued by NDRF men in Ferozepur district.”