As per the media reports the Union Government has here on Thursday red flagged a sharp decline in the groundwater level in Punjab. According to a study conducted in May, 94 per cent of the state has shown a decline in the water level when compared to the average level from 2007-16. Consequently, the study has reportedly held only Punjab government responsible for this catastrophic ground water situation by stating that state government is adamant on keeping the “politically sensitive” free power to agriculture consumers going — a major reason for excessive tubewell connections that drain the groundwater. There is also no action plan to wean away farmers from water guzzling paddy crop.Interestingly, the study forgot to take into consideration the mammoth quantity of water that is illegally being drained to Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi by compromising the interest and Riparian rights of the state of Punjab. So in order to meet their respective need one has turn towards other sources for water. The results of the study, which the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, had commissioned to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), and now shared with the state government, have shown a decline in water in 89 per cent of the observation wells. These cover 94 per cent area of the state, reads a quote from a report published in an English vernacular.Furthermore, the reported findings of the study mapped aquifers (up to 300 metres) has shown an alarming fall of over 4 metres in 10 per cent of the observation wells (a total of 704 wells were studied), covering 8 per cent of the state’s area. Moreover, it has stressed upon the fact that 26 per cent area in the state has seen its water table fell by 2-4 metres, while 60 per cent of the area has seen a fall of up to 2 metres. This, however, may still not deter the government to restrict the use of subsoil water, as three-fourth of the state is dependent on sub-soil water for irrigation.Surprisingly, the Centre has asked Punjab to invest in strengthening ground water monitoring; implement a water security plan; promote micro-irrigation and crop diversification, when on the contrary Central Government does not provide any Minimum Support Price (MSP) to the farmers if they are to shift from traditional crops. Nor has the Center introduced any financial schemes to support the farmers in their transition phase. Highly centralized, authoritarian and concentration of policy and decision making power by the center in its hands in the field of Agriculture are some factors which this study has failed to address of take into consideration, reports The Tribune (TT).
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