It’s been years that untreated water from Punjab has been flowing into the Indira Gandhi Canal Project (IGCP) in Rajasthan, posing a threat to scores of people residing near the canal who quench their thirst with this chemical-laden water.
However, this time the water in the canal has turned dark black in colour, alarming the ruling Congress government in the desert state.
The project covers an area measuring 600 km in length and 45 km in width in the north west of Rajasthan.
The Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot recently shot a letter to the concerned Punjab officials, urging them not to release untreated water from its industries into the IGCP, as it is leading to the flow of contaminated water in Rajasthan.
The move came following reports of release of black water from the tanneries in Punjab into the IGCP, making its water unfit for use.
This problem of untreated water flowing into the IGCP is continuing for the past several years, and has become a bone of contention between the two neighbouring states.
This toxic water, as per the information, quenches the thirst of the people of 10 districts in Rajasthan, who are now faced with a direct health threat.
These districts are Bikaner, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Nagaur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar.
This toxic water can lead health hazards such cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart attack and kidney failure, among other diseases, say the experts.
Even BJP state president Satish Poonia has alleged that poisonous water is flowing in the Indira Gandhi Canal Project and Bhakra Nangal irrigation system of Rajasthan due to the release of contaminated water from the Harike barrage in Punjab.
Also, the contaminated water is killing fish and other aquatic animals.
Poonia has written a letter to Gehlot regarding the situation arising in about 10 districts of the state due to the contaminated water flowing in from Punjab.
In the letter, Poonia said, “Black contaminated water is being released from the Harike barrage in Punjab, due to which the water is turning poisonous in the Indira Gandhi Canal Project and the Bhakra Nangal irrigation system in Rajasthan. Far from drinking, even irrigation with such poisonous water is proving fatal. This water is supplied for drinking water to about two crore people of 10 districts.”
At a time when common people are ravaged by the Covid pandemic, the contaminated water in the Indira Gandhi Canal Project is proving fatal for the people of these 10 districts.
Poonia also urged Gehlot to take suo motu cognizance of this matter and make efforts to get the problem resolved at the earliest, so that the people of these 10 districts get to drink pure water during this summers.