The irrigation department is caught in deep water. After failing to take water to the thermal-electricity plant at Lehra Mohabbat by any other means, it has agreed to resume feeding of the Sirhind Canal from April 25 so that the flow could reach the plant on April 28. However, the haste to flood the canal again will affect its repair.
The water crisis at the 920-megawatt Guru Hargobind Thermal-Power (GHTP) Plant at Lehra Mohabbat surfaced after its authorities charged the irrigation department with shutting the supply to the Sirhind Canal till April 30 without notice.
Earlier, the canal department had offered the supply of groundwater from tube-wells in fields near the energy plant. The plant authorities turned down the plan on technical grounds, as groundwater was unsuitable for putting into boilers.
"It will be difficult but we will run water to the plant by April 28," said Sohan Singh, senior engineer, Sirhind Canal, Ludhiana circle. "It will affect the repair and construction work at the canal."
The canal was drained for 20 days for the laying of overbridge near Doraha. Taking the advantage of its emptiness, the irrigation department was on with its repair and cleaning. JCB machines are at work for the last few days, cleaning it up. The irrigation department also has to repair the damaged sections of the channel.
"Punjab has a very short season for the closure of the canal, as most of the time, water is needed for agriculture," said Sohan Singh. "We had planned repair for April 30 but now we have to wind up in a hurry. We will ensure that earlier release of water doesn't affect the safety of the canal."
It will, howerver, affect the construction of the overbridge, he has said. "Constructers may have to wait for the next season." MR Parhar, chief engineer at the electricty unit, has been ensured that water will reach the plant on April 28. "If it is in on time, there will be no power crisis," he said. "Earlier, we would have been forced to shut all four units."