Bhakra, pong filling to be stopped today
Chandigarh September 21:
Filling at the Bhakra and Pong dams is set to come to a close tomorrow with the meteorological office predicting an end to the current rain spell even as the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) feels it has sufficient water to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of the partner states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan till May 20 next year.
According to the meteorological office, the current rain spell, which has been light to medium in the catchments of both dams, is likely to come to an end tomorrow. As the traditional filling date of the dams also comes to a close today, the water level of both dams is likely to stabilise at the present levels.
The water level at the Bhakra today was 1680.70 ft. The level of the Bhakra is not likely to rise further, unforeseen circumstances notwithstanding, with the dam receiving an average inflow of around 40,000 cusecs. Around 38,000 cusecs of water is released into the Sutlej from the Bhakra power plants daily. The spillway gates of the Bhakra have been closed for the last two days.
At Pong, inflows were only around 10,000 cusecs today indicating light rainfall only in its catchments. The water level at the Pong was recorded at 1393.50 ft today. Meanwhile, there are conflicting opinions on the water level achieved at both dams. South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and Peoples head Himanshu Thakkar today claimed that the BBMB had operated in an ad hoc and casual manner by letting the water level rise to the maximum limit of 1680 ft in the middle of the filling season. However, Padamjit Singh of the All-India Power Engineers Federation claimed that optimum filling had not been achieved at both dams.
Thakkar claimed the BBMB had not acted responsibly by allowing the dam to fill beyond 1680 ft two weeks before the end of the filling season. He claimed this had resulted in a tilt in the dam structure, which was beyond the permissible limits forcing the dam authorities to stop further filling. Power Engineers Federation president Padamjit Singh has written to Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asking him to direct the BBMB to reduce power generation at Pong.
BBMB Member, Irrigation, MK Gupta, when questioned, said the dams had been filled to their optimum levels and that the present levels were sufficient to meet the irrigation needs of the partner states till May 20 next year.