Residents’ welfare associations met on Saturday to discuss ways to resolve the issue of water scarcity in south Haryana and alternatives for the Yamuna-Sutlej Link (SYL) canal project.
The move comes after Punjab chief minister, Prakash Singh Badal, said his government will not allow the construction of the 214-km SYL canal, which is based on a water-sharing policy with Haryana. This destroys Haryana’s share of water from Ravi and Beas rivers.
The Punjab assembly also passed the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill 2016, which seeks to return land acquired for the canal to the owners free of cost.
Fearing this might affect water supply to Gurgaon and other parts of south Haryana, the RWAs launched a campaign to press the ministry of water resources to construct Lakhwar, Kesao and Renuka dams on the Yamuna, Tons and Giri rivers. The dams will increase water supply to the Tajewala barrage on the Yamuna river in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district.
This would ensure all-year-round supply to the Western Yamuna Canal that carries water to south Haryana, including Gurgaon.
“Constructing dams will save river water, which is wasted in the monsoon. This water can be stored and diverted to the western canal, which could supply water to south Haryana,” RN Malik, a retired engineer-in-chief of the Haryana government, said.
In the monsoon, the Western Yamuna Canal supplies 13,000 cusecs of water – full capacity — but this reduces to 2,000-3,000 cusecs during the rest of the year. Of this, 600 cusecs is supplied to Delhi, an official of the Gurgaon municipal corporation said.
“Water scarcity is a perennial problem in Gurgaon with no solution. The aim is to make people aware about the water crisis in Haryana and negligence by the state government and Centre,” RS Rathee, president of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC) that which launched the campaign, said. The GCC will take up the issue with the ministry of water resources, he said.
Supported by a political consensus that brings the opposition; Congress and Aam Aadmi Party on board, the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government passed the bill in the Punjab assembly.
Even though Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki is yet to approve the Bill, reports of work on levelling the land, scooping earth and flora along the canal emerged, causing ecological damage and creating political uncertainty in the two neighbouring states.