(Feature Image: Breach in GGSSTP micro hydel canal on April 26, 2023. Image by The Tribune)
A sudden breach in a micro hydel canal of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) has damaged standing wheat crops on hundreds of acres of land in Ranjitpura village of Ropar district, Punjab. The breached occurred near Batarla around 08:00 am on April 24, 2023.
As per Gurunam Singh, a local farmer quoted in Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi) report, the leakages in the canal started about 06:00 am after which the staff placed at micro hydel plant was informed to stop the water supply from Bhakra canal but nothing was done for next five hours. He had to shift his cattle and family members to safer places after the breach widened.
Local people have also blamed thermal plant management and the administration of negligence. They said that the damages could have been minimized if the management had reacted promptly to plug the seepages and to stop water supply to the breached canal.
They further stated that despite timely information, the thermal plant management and administration remained inactive and the breached widened in couple of hours which finally washed away a part of concrete canal. As a result, the wheat, fodder crops were damaged by the gushing water apart from flooding of some houses.
The Tribune report reads, “Chief Engineer at the thermal plant Manjit Singh said the thermal plant staff regularly monitors the canal and there was no damage to it till early morning. Around 8 am, there was a sudden breach in the canal leading to flooding, he said. DC Preeti Yadav said due to the ongoing harvesting season, there was not much damage to crops as wheat in majority of fields had already been harvested. The Revenue Department had been ordered to assess the damage to crops, she added.”
However, the affected farmers fear that they would not be compensated timely and adequately. They have also confronted Reetu Gupta, tehsildar during her site visit opposing the repair of breach unless they are compensated for the damages.
As per the villagers they constantly feel the threat of canal flooding and there could have been much greater damages if the incident had occurred during night hours. They also said that due to lack of maintenance, same canal had breached four time in past affecting their lives.
The canal has been constructed by Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to supply water for cooling of thermal plant boilers. Before falling in Sutlej river the canal water is used to run a micro hydel plant. The information regarding capacity of the hydel plant and why it is called micro hydel canal, is unavailable.
Bhim Singh Rawat (firstname.lastname@example.org)