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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

To tackle water logging, state's hunger for central grant increases by Rs. 650 cr

Kamaldeep Singh Brar , Hindustan Times  Muktsar, October 14, 2013
First Published: 22:40 IST(14/10/2013) | Last Updated: 22:41 IST(14/10/2013)

If the drainage circle, Gidderbaha, is to be believed then the total expenditure to deal with the water-logging problems has been increased by around Rs. 650 crore in just 15 months.

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Majorly dealing with the problem in the areas of politically important Gidderbaha and Lambi constituencies, officials of the Giderbaha circle have proposed Rs. 1,233.97-crore budget to combat one-and-half-decade old problem.

This figure is part of the proposal file of Rs. 3,327.57-crore project presented by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding grant for the water-logging project of the state.

The same officials had presented Rs. 581-crore budget for the same purpose to members of the central team of planning commission, headed by Mihir Shah, who visited the water-logged areas of the district on July 2, 2012.

It was for the first time that officials of the circle had agreed to correct the drains' alignment. Around Rs. 124 crore have been proposed for the purpose. Farmers of the district alleged that the path of the drains was diverted away from the fields of politically influential farmers.

Another probable reason behind the increase was that officials had proposed to almost double the capacity of the existing network of drains.

"Often drains are planned to carry out 50% of the maximum discharge of water, which flows when rainfall is exceptionally more than the average," said an official on the condition of anonymity.
He said: "With the new proposal, most of the drains will be able to carry out the discharge of water of the rainfall that will hit the region in next 100 years. This means capacity of these drains will not be utilised for rest of the 99 years."

"This is not a practical proposal. Officials know that the central government will cut down the grant being sought by the Punjab government. So, they have demanded grant, which even if cut by 50% will be sufficient for the project," he said.

PS Ghuman, superintendent engineer of Gidderbaha circle, said: "A new master plan has been chalked out. Some new parameters have been added due to which the cost of the project has gone up."

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