Punjab and Rajasthan on Monday agreed to jointly monitor the progress of a project related to relining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeder canals for its timely completion.
A decision to this effect was taken during a meeting between Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Rajasthan water resources minister Ram Pratap, who called on the former here today, said an official release.
Flagging issues related to the supply of irrigation water to Rajasthan, Ram Pratap apprised the chief minister a major issue was the relining of Rajasthan Feeder (RF) and Sirhind Feeder (SF), which were carrying water to the state from Harike headworks in Punjab and also sought his intervention for supplying clean water to his state through these canals.
Badal in turn informed him that the process of relining of the canals, at a cost of about Rs 200 crore, was in the pipeline and global tenders in this connection have already been floated.
Underscoring the need for regular monitoring of the ambitious project, Badal also mooted a proposal to undertake joint inspection of the relining of RF and SF by Secretary Irrigation of the two states to ensure the completion of project within the stipulated time.
Punjab Iirrigation minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon informed his Rajasthan counterpart that a cross regulator was being constructed on the tail of Sirhind feeder to stop its back flow and assured Ram Pratap that this would be completed within a year thereby meeting a long pending demand of Rajasthan government to check back flow of the feeder.
Pratap said the relining of the RF and SF would go a long way in supplying adequate water to the farmers of Rajasthan without any wastage on account of seepage, which had resulted in the problem of water logging in the south west districts of the Punjab.
He hoped with the relining of these canals the menace of water logging would also eventually come to an end thereby mitigating the enormous hardships faced by the local farmers of the Malwa belt in Rajasthan.
Badal also pointed out that Punjab government was keen on cleaning the rivers of the state, with an aim to supply clean water, for which several initiatives have been taken by them.
He said Punjab has already embarked upon a massive project worth Rs 1,375 crore for setting up of sewerage treatment plants (STPs) in all towns discharging municipal sewage in river Satluj, and Rs 220 crore for the installation of STPs in the towns along the river Beas.
As many as 10 out of 18 towns have installed and commissioned the STPs along the river Satluj. Similarly, 5 out of 11 towns along the river Beas have been covered and in the remaining towns along the two rivers the STPs would be installed by June 30, 2015.
It was further discussed that though the dyeing industries of Ludhiana have installed their own effluent treatment plants, three Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) were being set in Ludhiana and Jalandhar for treating the industrial waste, in order to monitor these industries at single points and ensure achievements of stringent parameters.
Badal further said the CETPS would be made operational by June 30, 2015, which would help in ensuring zero discharge of untreated water in these canals.
He also instructed Irrigation department officials to supply the allocated share of river water to Rajasthan without any fluctuation.
It was also agreed in the meeting that the pollution control authorities of Rajasthan and Punjab would undertake joint inspection of river water to monitor the quality of water being supplied to Rajasthan.
The chief minister also told Pratap that the Punjab government had already been adhering to the stringent norms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) level of 10 mg/per litre, as against the country-wide BOD level of 30mg/per litre, before discharging treated sewage/effluents into rivers for safe utilisation of the river water for irrigation purposes.
Similarly, the permitted COD level was 50mg/per litre in the state as against the COD level of 250 mg/per litre followed in the country.