Chandigarh, August 7 – Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, Public Works(Building and Roads) Minister,Haryana today said that Punjab was unnecessarily politicising the issue of ‘toe wall’ being constructed at Ghaggar river for preventing floods and added that the propaganda that the ‘toe wall’ would cause floods in Punjab was totally wrong, baseless and unreasonable.
Mr Surjewala, who was interacting with the media persons before taking part in the Kissan Mahapanchayat orgainsed at Guhla-Cheeka today, said that controversies and litigations over Hansi-Butana canal and ‘toe wall’ were the results of the well calculated move of the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal and former Chief Minister of Haryana Mr Om Parkash Chautala, as these two leaders have nothing to do with the interest of the farmers of Punjab and Haryana.He said that Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda had not only got sanctioned a Rs 1100 crore scheme for the permanent solution of floods of river Ghaggar but had also given his consent to the scheme. Under the scheme, 45000 recharge-well would be made in the Ghaggar bed so that underground water table could be replenished through these wells and thereby improve water level in this area. At a time, 43000 cubic metre water that is 20 crore litre water would percolate into the earth through these wells. The Punjab government had not given its consent to this beneficial scheme and given this fact how Badal government could claim to be farmers friendly.
He said that 90 per cent of the cost of the project would be borne by the Central government and only ten per cent by the concerned state. The scheme would provide permanent solution to the problem of floods and at the same time water could be drawn from the earth for irrigation by using these recharge wells as bore-wells in the summer season,he added.
Mr Surjewala said that on the persuasion of Haryana government, UPA Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had given a green signal to this beneficial scheme. He clarified that 51 kms long Ghaggar dam from Khanauri Punjab to village Bhagal was got constructed by the government of joint Punjab in 1959 to protect the people of Haryana from floods.Even after the division of Punjab, the repair and maintenance of this bandh was being undertaken by the irrigation departments of both the states.To undertake repair and strengthening work of bandh before monsoon was the routine work of the department. In 1993, Ghaggar floods caused a loss of Rs 1000 crore to the standing crops, roads and abadis.Thereafter in July 2010,the Ghaggar bandh was breached due to flow of 65000 cusecs of excess water in river Ghaggar and area suffered a huge loss of life and property. The Cheeka area alone suffered a loss of Rs 20 crore and infrastructure worth about Rs 300 crore was adversely affected.
The Minister said that the ‘toe wall’ at river Ghaggar was being constructed with the opinion of experts of IIT Roorkee and National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra to prevent recurrence of breach in Ghaggar bandh and for the prevention of floods.The Haryana Chief Minister Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda after his visit to the flood affected areas last year decided in a meeting of flood control that the Ghaggar bandh should be made pucca at the bed of the river so as to avoid seepages and thereby breach in the bandh. In the light of this decision, the work on this bandh was started in May 2011 and tenders were invited by giving advertisements in the newspapers.During this period, Punjab raised no objection. But now Punjab government had raised this issue simply to get political mileage in the Vidhan Sabha elections which are due in 2012.It was quite clear that the construction of ‘toe wall’ had nothing to do with the floods in the Punjab area.The issue was being politicised simply to take benefit in the Vidhan Sabha elections.He appealed to the farming community to understand the facts and not to be misled by the rumours being spread by the Punjab government.