Hansi-Butana Canal Sparks Controversy Amidst Flooding Woes

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

Patiala/Sangrur: Recent flooding in Patiala and Sangrur districts has sparked a heated debate, with residents of villages along the Haryana border pointing fingers at the Hansi-Butana canal as the source of their woes.

In response to the canal’s damage, the Haryana Government has initiated repair work on the embankment. However, the move has met with resistance from irate villagers who halted the transportation of sand and construction materials to the repair site.

The affected residents claim that the 15-ft toe wall constructed by Haryana is to blame for flooding in Punjab when the water level rises in the Ghaggar river. They allege that the canal acts as a barrier, obstructing the natural flow of water towards Haryana.

A spokesperson for the Irrigation Department shed light on the issue, stating, “Before the Hansi-Butana canal was constructed, water used to flow towards Haryana. However, since its construction, it seems to act like a wall, impeding the water from entering Haryana.”

On the other side, the Punjab Government has accused Haryana of contributing to waterlogging in Patiala and Sangrur districts. The blame was placed on Haryana’s purported failure to timely clean the siphon built on the Ghaggar under the Hansi-Butana canal.

A siphon, which allows water to flow under symphonic action without the presence of atmospheric pressure in the canal, seems to be at the center of this dispute.

Seeking resolution, Gurnam Singh Charuni, the chief of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni), called for the formation of a joint committee comprising representatives from both states to find a solution to the problem.

“The toe wall is obstructing the natural flow and causing floods in Punjab villages,” said Charuni, emphasizing the need to allow the Hansi-Butana canal to flow downstream under the Ghaggar river.

Adding to the chorus, Cabinet Minister Chetan Singh Jauramajra claimed that the neighboring state failed to adequately clean the siphon built on the Ghaggar, thereby exacerbating the situation.

Former minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, representing the Samana constituency, pointed out that the concrete wall over the Ghaggar river has been responsible for flooding in over 20 Punjab villages.

As the two states grapple with the implications of the canal and its impact on neighboring regions, a collaborative approach may be the key to finding a viable and lasting solution to alleviate the flooding woes and mitigate further damages.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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