One of the distributaries of the 800km Bist-Doab canal system passing through various areas of Jalandhar, which has been virtually turned into a garbage dump, is set to get a facelift with the state government sanctioning a Rs 6 crore grant.
The Bist-Doab canal system, which has 14 small and large canals or distributaries, had not received financial aid from any of the designated sources since its inception in 1955.
The condition of the 10-km distributary, which runs from Gadaipur to Basti Bawa Khel to Gakhla villages of the district, has been suffering due to people dumping garbage and sewage discharge into the canal.
The canal, considered to be the lifeline of the Doaba region, is nothing more than a patch of dry earth in most areas, while encroachment and garbage dumps have further caused its deterioration. Besides, lack of maintenance and growth of weeds have affected the flow of water and decreased the water-carrying capacity of the canal.
A senior official said the canal department had recommended that FIRs be registered against those found dumping garbage in the canal and had repeatedly sent communiqués to the municipal corporation and the deputy commissioner, urging them to take stern action against the defaulters, but to no avail.
Talking to HT, irrigation chief parliamentary secretary Sohan Singh Thandal said the project would help in cleaning the canal and provide water to farmers of nearby villages for irrigation.
Under the renovation and modernisation project, the banks of the distributary would be lined with bricks to make them sturdy and prevent growth of wild vegetation, leading to faster supply of water.
Thandal added that after the completion of the project, the state government would take up the matter of releasing funds for renovation of the Bist-Doab Canal, which was scheduled to begin on October 1 this year but was delayed till March, 2014.
Municipal councillor Jathedar Pritam Singh, who was demanding funds for the project, said area-wise youth societies would be formed to prevent people from throwing garbage in the canal, and said strict action would be taken against the defaulters.
Canal department executive engineer Arvinder Singh Sohal said Rs 6 crore had been released for the first phase of the project, which would be completed within one-and-a-half months.