CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has urged the Union Government to take the lead in ensuring optimum harnessing of the Ravi-Beas waters, suggested the constitution of a technical panel of experts to work out ways to restrict the flow of water from Punjab into Pakistan.
Amarinder said he had not yet received the letter purported to have been written by his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar on the issue but made it clear that his government would take every possible step secure more water for the state.
Pointing out that melting of ice leads to rise in the water levels in the three rivers of Ravi, Beas and Satluj, causing it to flow into Pakistan, Captain Amarinder said he had written to Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari suggesting storage of the excess water in dams in Himachal Pradesh to check its flow into Pakistan. He had further suggested that all the stored water be controlled in Himachal Pradesh, said the Chief Minister, stressing the need for the central government to take the initiative in the matter.
It may be noted that under the Indus Water Treaty, 1960, India has been allowed unrestricted usage of available water in Rivers viz. Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Significant quantum of water of Ravi was flowing across the International Border through tributaries like Ujh, Jallialia, Tarna etc. joining the Ravi downstream of the rim station at Madhopur. The quantity of water of River Ravi flowing across the international border was assessed to be 0.58 MAF. In 2015, the Punjab Government has submitted a report giving two alternatives - firstly, Pump water from Makora Pattan to UBDC at RD 79,000 feet, involving lift of 85 feet over the distance of 30 Km and secondly, Pump water from Jainpur to UBDC at RD 79,000 feet, involving lift of 96 feet over the distance of 32Km.
Further, a High Powered Steering Committee for implementation of National Projects, chaired by Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation), constituted a team comprising officers of Central Water Commission and Irrigation Department, Government of India on March 3, 2017, to visit the site of proposed Second Ravi Beas Link Project and submit a Feasibility Report. The team visited the site on December 5, 2017 and observed that harnessing the waters of Ravi was in national interest, and from among Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers, the greatest scope for utilization of unharnessed waters was in Ravi and technical feasibility of transfer of water from Ravi to Beas needed to be ascertained.