Delay in wheat harvesting has left Ravi tributaries dry even in the last half of May, when these are usually full of water for watering fields by midterm vegetable growers, who plant the crop before paddy. Besides, these tributaries help locals beat scorching heat when summer is at its zenith.
During harvesting the wheat crop doesn’t require water, and thus, the irrigation department is holding the Ravi water in Ranjit Sagar Dam (RSD) Reservoir till a demand for it is generated from all parts of the district — leaving the tributaries dry by then.
The department’s move came in the wake of unexpected rain that lashed the district last month, delaying the harvesting of wheat crop.
In some tributaries water is being released, though little (a few cusec), which is aimed at keeping these tributaries clean. In the absence of water, dry water channels produce stench and pollute the atmosphere of surrounding villages.
“In the absence of water in tributaries, we are using tube wells to water our vegetable fields. Water is not being released by the dam,” said Yudhvir Singh, a farmer of Sujanpur.
“As the unexpected rain has delayed wheat harvesting this season, the crop cycle has also been disturbed by and large. We are facing problem in producing vegetable, which is planted between wheat harvesting and paddy sowing,” Yudhvir Singh added.
“We used to take a splash in tributaries in scorching heat, but there no water left now,” rued Manav, a youngster from Manwal village.
“We cannot afford a swimming pool, but these tributaries act as swimming pools to us in summer. The officials should now release the dam water,” he added.
Ranjit Sagar Dam executive engineer RL Mittal said releasing water and hydroelectric power generating from the multi-purpose dam was regulated from Patiala office and we release the dam water as per instructions.
“The water level is encouraging in the reservoir. It has reached above 522 metre level, which means we can release water as soon as we get an instruction from the Patiala office,” he concluded.