The Rajasthan Government has decided to supply water from the Indira Gandhi canal to the farmers for irrigation of rabi crops in three shifts everyday following the Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB) agreeing to raise the water level in Pong dam to 1,290 feet. The BBMB will be shortly releasing an additional 70,000 cusecs of water to the State.
State Principal Water Resources Secretary Ram Lubhaya said here on Tuesday that the BBMB had earlier allocated 8.60 lakh cusecs of water for the Indira Gandhi Canal Project till May 2010. The State Government took up the matter with the Board recently and convinced it to increase the water level in Pong dam.
The water available earlier could meet the irrigation needs of farmers for only two times a day. Mr. Lubhaya said the Pong dam would be receiving an additional 80,000 cusecs of water from an increased inflow following the rains in its catchment area.
The BBMB was so far calculating the amount of water available on the basis of inflow during the past 25 years, when the water level in the Pong dam has always been low. Mr. Lubhaya pointed out that the State Government drew the BBMB authorities’ attention to the present drought conditions and requested them to approve the release of greater amount of water.
The Principal Secretary pointed out that the Chief Engineer of his department in Hanumangarh district bordering Punjab would formulate a rotation programme for release of water in the distributaries of Indira Gandhi canal from October 11. The farmers will start getting water in three shifts a day from October 15.
Mr. Lubhaya said the farmers in the region had been asked to sow mustard, barley and gram, which need a lesser amount of water, and avoid wheat as far as possible in view of its water-intensive irrigation.