Rapid fall in groundwater level in Punjab, Haryana
The rapid rate at which groundwater levels have dipped across Punjab and Haryana has experts worried.
The Central Ground Water Board has found that 82% of Punjab areas and 76% in Haryana have seen a substantial fall in the water level. This is based on the board’s data compiled between 2006 and 2015 followed by findings gathered in 2016 and 2017 for the two agrarian states.
When contacted, Anoop Nagar, the director for the board’s northwest region, said: “It is not the level of groundwater that is alarming but the speed with which it is going down that needs to be addressed immediately.”
The rapid decline in Punjab has been observed in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moga, Barnala, Sangrur, Patiala and Mansa districts. “The decline of up to two metres has been seen in 55% of the wells, while the water level fell by two to four metres in 21% of the wells and by more than four metres in 7% of the wells,” he said.
Data from May 2016 to January 2017 shows the deepest water levels in Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Sangrur and the Kandi belt of Hoshiarpur.
“These regions have shallow levels and water-logging but this water is of no use because of high salinity,” Nagar said.
Sharing the decadal data for Haryana, Nagar said 55% of wells showed a water level decline of up to two metres, while 13% of the wells saw a fall of up to four metres and 8% of the wells more than four metres.
Moderately deep water levels of 10-20 metres were seen in 29% of the area surveyed, while deep water levels of 20-40 metres were found in 25% of the area and very deep water levels of more than 40 metres occurred in 7% of the area in Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Bhiwani and Mahendragarh districts besides isolated patches in Fatehabad and Sirsa districts.
Experts say earlier farmers followed the maize-wheat or sugarcane-maize-wheat cropping pattern but for the past four decades they have shifted to the wheat-paddy cycle, causing unprecedented exploitation of groundwater for irrigation.
The increasing number of tubewells is proof of the worrying trend.
As a solution, Nagar suggests an integrated water management strategy, including drip irrigation, besides change in cropping pattern and banning early plantation of paddy so that the monsoon run-off can be used to irrigate fields.
“We have started pilot projects for artificial recharge of groundwater and rainwater harvesting. It can be replicated by the two states,” he added.
In a tragic incident, four persons including two labourers, one crane operator and a car driver, died due to a crane accident Navi Mumbai on Tuesday evening. They working at an under construction site of City and Industrial Development Corporation's Taloja phase 2 project in Navi Mumbai The accident occurred after the tower crane used to transport construction materials atop Taloja collapsed from the 14th floor and landed on them.
The NIA has arrested two accused in Jammu & Kashmir in the cross-LoC trade and terror funding case. Earlier, the NIA had conducted multiple raids across the Valley in the terror-funding case. NIA spokesman in a statement said that on Monday the NIA arrested two accused Tanveer Ahmad Wani of Achagoza, Rajpora, Pulwama and Peer Arshad Iqbal, alias Ashu of Khwaja Bagh, Baramulla.
With a day left for the start of the Amarnath Yatra, high-level security is in place across Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Kashmir valley, where foolproof security arrangements have been made for the peaceful conduct of the yatra, which is taking place after two years. Three-tier security will be in place for the entire yatra route, including the mountains in the south and central Kashmir.
Ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday claimed to have solved recent blasts in Kotranka and Budhal areas of the Rajouri district with the arrest of two Lashkar operatives. The police have launched searches for Talib Shah. “A huge cache of explosive material, including five improvised explosive devices (IEDs), was recovered at the disclosure of the LeT operatives”, additional director general of police (ADGP), Mukesh Singh said.
Union minister of state for women and child development Dr Mahendra Munjapara on Tuesday said cash incentives given to pregnant women under the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana will now be given in two instalments instead of three, and women will also be given a cash incentive of ₹6,000 on the birth of a second girl child.