The annual closure of Ganga canal for cleaning and silt removal has been enforced from Wednesday midnight. The canal shall remain closed for next 20 days and the full flow will be resumed on Diwali night say the authorities. However, 1,000 cusecs of water shall be maintained at Har Ki Pauri so that the pilgrims can take holy dip, the officials said.
Every year, the canal is closed by the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department and various social organisations and academic institutions engage in cleaning of the river bed
in Haridwar. It usually begins at the start of Dussehra and remains enforced till Diwali.
Notably, the Ganga canal was built under directions of the British engineer colonel PB Cautley in 1842. The canal feeds areas up to Noida and Delhi. The canal stretches from Haridwar to Kanpur in UP and is 570 kms in length. As per the sources, it took 12 years to construct this canal at an estimated expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore. The canal is the lifeline for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Speaking to The Pioneer, the Upper Ganga canal sub divisional officer Vikrant Kumar Saini said, “Keeping the religious sentiments of people in consideration, required water level shall be maintained at Har Ki Pauri and other bathing ghats so that they can have holy dip. About 1,000 cusecs of water flow shall be maintained at Har Ki Pauri. Through escape channel the water flow shall be maintained at Sati Ghat and other important Ganga Ghats along the way.”
When asked on the resumption of water flow, Kumar said that on Diwali night the Ganga water flow shall be resumed.
The flow in the canal has been stopped in agreement with the Ganga Mahasabha. When asked, the president of Ganga Mahasabha, Tanmay Vashishth said, “The irrigation department officials have got no rights to hurt the sentiments of the visitors who come to Ganga for holy dip. Even the President of India has acknowledged the importance of this site by visiting it. The department must maintain the minimum flow of 1,000 cusecs of water at Har Ki Pauri, Kusha Ghat, Vishnu Ghat and Ganesh Ghat.”
A pact was signed in the year 1916 between the then British Government, some kings and Madan Mohan Malviya on the volume of water that should flow through the dams and canals and the main stream of the Ganga river specifically across the Ghats of Haridwar so that the Hindus taking a dip in the river can continue to do so.
The agreement clearly stated that uninterrupted flow of water must be maintained across the Ghats of the city at the foothills at all times.
Vashishth added, “We spoke to the irrigation department officials about the plight of the pilgrims. Only 200 cusecs of water is being released which is not sufficient. The department officials have assured for release of more water. We are hopeful that the required water flow shall be maintained in the Ganga here.”
Saturday, 12 October 2019 | PNS | Haridwar
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