Ferozepur The discharging of 1,250-cusec water from the Hussainiwala headworks to Pakistan on Saturday swept Rajasthan farmers in anger.
A rise in the water levels in the reservoirs of Bhakra, Pong, and Ranjit Sagar dams over the past five days forced the irrigation authorities to release 26,000 cusec water to the Harike headworks in Ferozepur on Saturday, from where, 5,500 cusecs was released further into the Hussainiwala headworks and Ferozepur Feeder and Bikaner canals for irrigation in Ferozepur, Faridkot, Muktsar, and Abohar areas of Punjab.
The water included the 2,500-cusec legitimate share of Rajasthan that the state hasn't received. The technical measurement committee (TMC) of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) fixed this quota.
"The Punjab irrigation authorities released 1,250-cusec water to Pakistan from gates 12 and 16 of the Hussainiwala headworks," Subash Sehgal, spokesman of the Rajasthan Kisan Sangharsh Committee, told HT on telephone. "The Punjab government advises farmers to save water and even gives them huge subsidy on drip irrigation but when it came to saving water that could have irrigated 1-lakh acres, it didn't bother."
Rajasthan's farmers will have to wait another 16 to 21 days to irrigate their crop, in spite of there being excess water in neighbouring Punjab. "Instead of passing it to an Indian state that needed it, Punjab release it to another country," said Sehgal.
The spokesman of Rajasthan farmers threatened to move the Central Jal Commission, if the matter didn't resolve. On Saturday, the water level at Bhakra was 1,582 feet, inflow 40,000 cusec, and outflow of 21,000 cusec; at Pong, it was 1315.58 feet, with 1,10-lakh cusec inflow and 10,000-cusec outflow; and at Ranjit Sagar, it was 500.25 metres.
The irrigation executive engineer of Ferozepur, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, agreed that water had gone to Pakistan but said the quantity was lesser than what Sehgal had claimed. "The discharge was accidental, because of penetration in the Hussainiwala canal, and we are looking into the matter."