Amid protests, ERA continues to work on Doodh Ganga water scheme

With the rising public anger over Doodh Ganga  water supply scheme built at summer capital Srinagar outskirts, Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) Saturday said that they would continue implementing the scheme.
Amid protests, ERA continues to work on Doodh Ganga water schemeHundreds of protestors held peaceful demonstrations, saying that they would continue to protest against the scheme till it is dismissed.
 “We will continue to protest. The diameter of the pipe is such that the Dhoodhganga river will dry up even in summers,” said Irshad, a local.
 “There is an undercurrent going on. The priority to irrigation is mere eyewash,” he added.
However, ERA claims to have convinced the concerned locals. The executive agency, ERA ensured that the scheme will be beneficial and that there are no risks associated with it. As per the ERA officials, out of 18kms, pipeline has been led on 6kms.
 “We have started to work. Roads are being restored. We are simultaneously convincing people” said an ERA official.
As far as the scarcity of drinking water due to the implementation of the scheme is concerned, the Public Relations Officer of ERA, Mohammad Azhar said, “Water will first be provided to the areas from where it is to be supplied to other parts. 51 villages will be facilitated. The surplus provided by the irrigation department will go to PHE (Population Health and Environment)”.
When asked why the pipeline can’t be laid at Hanjigund that is only a few kilometers away from Dhoodhganga, Director ERA, Malik Basharat told that Hanjigund has a (minus) 21 meter head. Instead of flowing on its own because of gravity, water will have to be uplifted. It will kill the purpose of the scheme.
As per Basharat, more than Rs. 10 Crore have been invested in the scheme by ADB.
ERA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the department of irrigation, as per which, the water would be used by the irrigation department on priority basis.
Basharat said, “Dhoodhganga River will not dry up. Currently 10mg water from Dhoodganga, Kral pora is utilized. The same water will be bought down via Navhar Bridge. It will provide clean water and turbid free water, with no need of energy to make it flow” he added.
Basharat emphasized that the scheme is the demand of PHE and has been conceived in 2009. “Based on a data of 30 years, this scheme will benefit about 3.5 lakh souls” Basharat said.
As per the procedure, Basharat told that ADB first coordinates with the line department of ERA. Based on some valid data and spot inspections, it invests in the schemes wherein the state funding can’t suffice the needs of a scheme.
 “All other schemes that we have will be hampered if Dhoodhganga water scheme is stopped, ADB (Asian Development Bank) will not invest in our other projects then”, said Basharat.
Moreover, ERA claims to have 283.25 cusecs available at the peak season of irrigation, in the months of June, July and August. As per the official data, the PHE demand will remain as 24 cusec.  The irrigation requirement in the month of June would be 239 cusecs. In the month of July, about 319 cusecs of water would be available with an irrigation requirement of 239 cusecs. For the month of August, about 211 cusecs would be available and the irrigation demand would be 157.
In these three months, a surplus of about 21, 56 and 29 cusecs would be left. This surplus will flow into the Dhoodhganga.
When asked whether is overflow can cause floods, Bashrat told that the flood control department has already issued a No Objection Certificate for the implementation of the scheme.
ERA is also taking into consideration another data, dated 8th Nov 2015. As per that, in the Rabi season, there would be no irrigation needs and 54 cusec water would be available. The PHE demands would remain the same (24 cusec) leaving a surplus of 30 cusec.
The scheme will ‘benefit’ all the areas.  Water would flow from: Nowgam, Mirmohalla, Zuhama, Chadora, Wathura, Bugam, Dhunwari, Handal bagh, Chatar gam and Hanjigund.
It would then be supplied to Kralpora, Wanbal,Bagh e Mehtab, Peerbagh,Lalnagar, Barzulla, Parepora, Aloochi Bagh, Gogjibagh, Rawalpora, Kralpora, Moocher, Chanpora, Natipora, Baghat, Jawahir Nagar (partly), Tulsibagh, Haftchinar and Gopalpora.
As far as the opposition by the political parties is concerned, Basharat told that ERA will do its job and the administration will administer.
Resolve issue amicably: Baig
Srinagar: Senior Peoples Democratic Party leader and Member of Parliament Muzaffar Hussain Baig has urged upon the government to resolve the water supply scheme issue in Chadoora as per consensus and take people in confidence.
The former deputy chief minister of the state said the people in the area are opposing the scheme as they fear its operation will reduce the water level in Doodh Ganga that will impact irrigation for agriculture.
“Instead of using force on agitating residents, the government should sit with the people and listen to their grievances. The people should be taken into confidence and the government should think of their security,” Baig told local newsgathering agency KNS.
The former finance minister said that if 42 villages fear that they will get affected, the government should take the suggestions from engineers of public health engineering and flood control about the construction of the scheme.
Protests have gripped Chrar-e-Sharief and Chadoora following the villagers’ opposition to construct water supply scheme as they fear the scheme, constructed by Economic Reconstruction Agency, will dry up water supply schemes which are already built on Doodh Ganga stream.
The District administration vide order number DDCB/Doodh Ganga/7087-88, Dated 15-10-2015, has also asked the ERA to re-examine the scheme to Hanzigund near Flour Mills in Chadoora as it is the suitable juncture which has adequate flow during the year.