With Pakistan setting up a bundh to prevent entry of polluted water from India, it has inundated the fields in more than a dozen villages on the border in Fazilka district, causing damage to crops and property.
Since Independence, according to a pact between the two countries, a 10-feet long and 10-feet wide moga (water channel) was created to let the water from the Sutlej flow into Pakistan at Kader Baksh-Nur Mohmmad village in Fazilka.
But, now that water from a nearby sewage treatment plant as well industrial waste is getting mixed with the river water in India, Pakistan has blocked the channel by erecting a bundh.
The polluted water is flowing into Kabul Shah Hedar, Kotha Thagni, Awwa, Bakhushah, Nuran, Ghadumi, Mohjamm, Beriwala and Jhanger villages in Fazilka and also seeping into the groundwater.
"The health of villagers is at stake as hand pumps are pumping out polluted water," Surjit Singh of Ghadumi village said. "Several villagers have experienced stomach pain after drinking the polluted water; others have skin and tooth diseases."
Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar lashed out at the state government, saying, "Despite the fact that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has been apprised of the issue of pollution of rivers and canals, nothing concrete has been done to solve the problem."