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“The surplus water is being discharged to prevent flooding,” Amarinder Singh said (PTI File Photo)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday dubbed PEP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s accusation of release of excess water to Pakistan as “politically motivated”, saying surplus water was being discharged to prevent flooding in areas along the Sutlej and the Beas rivers.
Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) chief Khaira on Wednesday had reportedly alleged that excess flow of water was being diverted to Pakistan from Harike headworks even as the state’s canals were running dry in the summer season.
Reacting to the allegation, the chief minister said the decision to release excess water in a regulated manner was a “precautionary measure” taken by a technical committee meeting held on May 28, in which all partner states were represented.
“The surplus water is being discharged as a precautionary measure to prevent flooding in the areas along the Sutlej and the Beas rivers,” Mr Singh said in an official release.
A unanimous view emerged in the meeting that there was surplus water and it would be appropriate to use it gainfully by releasing excess supplies and get the benefit of power generation too.
“If it was not done now then the excess water released through spillway will not only go waste, but also cause flood damages in the areas located along the Sutlej and the Beas rivers,” Mr Singh claimed, adding that there was no shortage of water as a result of this discharge.
The water requirement in the fields was being fully met for cotton sowing and water has now been released in all canals to meet the requirement of paddy transplantation which started from June 13.
Mr Singh asked Mr Khaira to stop indulging in “histrionic” to stay in “public limelight” by making “unsubstantiated” claims.
Contrary to Mr Khaira’s claims of 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water being released, on an average 8,700 cusecs of water on a daily basis was released downstream of Ferozepur headworks to Pakistan for the past 24 days with regular monitoring of the situation, the chief minister added.
The water being released to Pakistan will be controlled in the coming days, he said.
Mr Singh also said higher water-levels in the Bhakra, Pong and the Ranjit Sagar dams this year was also a cause of worry as the water inflows in reservoirs were expected to be higher this year.
“Had the decision to go in for precautionary releases not been taken, the Sutlej river was sure to experience releases from Bhakra in the range of 50,000 to 2,00,000 cusecs during the months of July and August, which would trigger floods,” Mr Singh said.