Haridwar, October 15
The annual Ganga canal water flow closure commenced last midnight in Haridwar, drying up the canal from Brahmkund, Har-ki-Pauri. The Ganga canal will remain closed till the eve of Diwali next month. During this time, the Ganga canal will be cleaned up and the ghats repaired.
This will the affect water supply to New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, particularly for irrigation purpose. Owing to the accumulation of silt and garbage on various barrages, bridges and ghats falling on this landmark canal, the Irrigation Department annually cleans the Ganga cana from Haridwar to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The full capacity of the canal is 10,500 cusec , with water flow in the canal being controlled from the Bhagirathi point, prior to Har-ki-Pauri and the Chaudhari Charan Singh Bhimgoda barrage supply channel.
Due to a dispute over property transfer, the Ganga canal in Uttarakhand is still controlled by Uttar Pradesh, of which it was a part till 2000.
Talking to TNS, Subdivisional Officer of the Ganga Canal Headworks, Uttar Pradesh, Veer Veerendra Singh said the closure was done last midnight, though a minimum flow for Brahmakund, Har-ki-Pauri, had been allowed so that religious rituals could be performed at the sanctum sanctorum.
The Ganga Sabha, managing authority of Har-ki-Pauri, has registered its resentment over the scant water flow at the sanctum sanctorum. It has sought additional water flow for Har-ki-Pauri as pilgrims and devotees are facing problem in performing religous rites.
Anshul Shri Kunj, member of the Ganga Sabha, said that they have demanded additional flow of water at Har-ki-Pauri. Chief of the Teerth Maryada Raksha Samiti Sanjay Chopra said that from Bhagirathi Bindu to Mayapur Check Dam, at least five-foot water should be released during the Ganga closure to ensure that minimum water availability at Brahamkund, Har-ki-Pauri, and adjacent ghats.
IIn 2011, for first time since 1947, the water flow at the Ganga canal, popularly known as Gang Nahar, was not fully stopped, prior to the festive of Diwali, as the then Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government had declined to give permission.
Emphasising the need of total Ganga closure annually, officers of the Irrigation Department it was necessary for the maintenance of this 160-year-old canal. If not done, it will have long-term repercussions.Like last year, this time too, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government has given the nod for the Ganga canal closure in the festival time, despite protests by local people, the Ganga Sabha, sants, traders and teerth purohits and pandits.