The unabated release of water from Shahnehar barrage at Talwara in Punjab since March 17 has created a flood-like situation in Mand areas of Fatehpur and Indora sub divisions in Kangra district.

This artificial calamity has added to the woes of farmers of Bahadpur, Badala, Halle, Rajgiri Bhatolli, Malal and Bhogrwan mand areas villages. Standing wheat and other rabi crops over 400 hectares have been damaged so far. The SDMs of Fatehpur and Indora sub divisions have directed the field revenue staff to conduct a survey of the loss cause to the crops.              

Meanwhile, sub divisional officer, Shahnehar head works civil sub division, Talwara, Ram Parkash in a statement last evening denied any breach in Shahnehar canal. He clarified that water discharge had stopped in Shahnehar canal and was being released in the Beas river due to repairs of Mukerian Hydel channel being carried out from March 17 to April 30.

He said the intimation of water discharge had been passed to the district administration, Kangra, and local authorities on March 16 through wireless messaging system and it was the responsibility of the Himachal Pradesh authorities to ensure safety of people and livestock.

Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati categorically denied the claim of Shahnehar authorities of giving prior intimation to the district and local authorities on March 16 before releasing water in the Beas. He said no communiqué had been received in this connection and Shahnehar authorities had been asked for timely communication henceforth to the administration keeping in view the safety of human and livestock in the area.

Several local farmers lamented that their crops had to be harvested after two weeks but untimely water release in the Beas river had inundated their fields and damaged rabi crop.

They added that their stored dry fodder had also been damaged by flood water. “If Shahnehar authorities ensure release of specified quantity of water within 24 hours as committed, the flood-like situation can be under control,” says Balwan Chand, SDM, Fatehpur.

Rampant mining in the Beas river is also one of the causes behind flood-like situation in the Mand area. The mining has changed the course of river and partially damaged a bridge at Haler village. Its existence is also under threat due to Shahnehar water release which will continue till April 30.

Meanwhile, Ajay Mahajan, Kangra district Congress president, who visited the flood-affected areas yesterday has demanded compensation for farmers whose crops were damaged. He said the state government should find a permanent solution of the flood threat by channelising river water passing through this area.

Source: 24 March, 2021, The Tribune