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UP asks water-scarce Delhi to ''exercise patience''

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) Reeling under an acute shortage of drinking water, people in the national capital will have to ''exercise patience'' with the Uttar Pradesh government making it clear that it will not be able to release water for Delhi Jal Board's Sonia Vihar treatment plant during the next few months.

''We have not been able to fill even the Tehri reservoir, which is vital for providing irrigation faciliies to farmers in Western Uttar Padesh. It is just not possible to release additional water for Sonia Vihar plant in Delhi as also for irrigation in western parts of Uttar Pradesh,'' Ms Anuradha Chaudhary, Chairperson, Irrigation Development and Flood Control Commission, Uttar Pradesh, told UNI.

Pointing out that Uttar Pradesh had been releasing 200 cusecs of water to the Delhi Jal Board's Bhagirathi plant on humanitarian considerations despite a shortfall in winter rainfall, Ms Chaudhary, MP and General Secretary of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, said she could only advise people of Delhi to ''exercise patience and share our concern''.

She said work on filling the Tehri reservoir had begun on October 29 last year. ''We had set a target of filling the dam to a height of 740 meters by today, but due to lesser availability of water in the Bhagirathi river as also poor winter rainfall, the dam could be filled till only 726 meters.'' During the past few years, the average availability of water in the Bhagirathi river has hovered between 2500 cusecs and 5000 cusecs.

But this year, mere 1000 cusecs of water was being released from the Tehri dam for the Upper Ganga Canal, she said, pointing out that this had been because of the ongoing work on filling the Tehri reservoir.

''In other words, the Upper Ganga Canal has been witnessing a shortfall of 2500 cusecs of water as compared to past years,'' Ms Chaudhary said, adding that farmers in western parts of Uttar Pradesh were able to get less water from Upper Ganga Canal and Agra Canal for the rabi (winter) crops.

She also said farmers in western parts of the state had been advised to go for only those crops which required less water.

Terming the Tehri Dam as ''an ambitious project'', the RLD MP expressed hope that additional water would be released from the Tehri dam from the first week of November. ''We appeal to the people in western Uttar Pradesh and their representatives to face the crisis with patience,'' she said.

UNI/SKS LS RS1803

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