Partnering states refuse to accept cut in Bhakra water supply
Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have refused to accept further cut on water release by Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), saying that present crop must be saved first.
"Partnering states (Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan) have not agreed to take further cut on water," an official of BBMB said.
A 10 % cut on water release is already in place on partnering states with effect from July 17. The cut was announced in the wake of deficient rain by BBMB.
Punjab chief engineer (irrigation) Amarjit Singh Dullat said "We did not agree to take further reduction in water supply. We want that present crop must get water. It should be saved first. So, we wanted the current water supply to be maintained,".
He said during the meeting held on Wednesday, it was proposed to bring water supply down from 23,000 cusecs to 20,000 cusecs from Bhakra dam and 12,000 cusecs to 5,200 cusecs from Pong dam.
The water release by BBMB is used for irrigation of crops like paddy, cotton, maize, guar for three states.
Problems for farmers this year aggravated because of severe power shortage and poor rains who expressed concern that reduction in water supply would cause hike in diesel cost, used to extract water for irrigating kharif crops.
The water level in Bhakra and Pong reservoirs has been "abysmally" low this year because of less rain and slow melting of snow.
Level of water in Bhakra dam on Thursday stands at 1,562.92 feet, 62 feet lower than what the level was in corresponding day of last year. Similarly, water level in Pong dam is 1290.80 feet as against 1357.17 feet in last year, BBMB official said. Water in Bhakra and Pong reservoirs is allowed to be filled till September 20.
The next meeting with representatives of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on the issue is scheduled for August 6. In the proposed meeting, secretary level officers from three states may also participate in the meeting.