Punjabi Documentary film on Punjab water issue.
A PLANNED DESERTIFICATION OF PUNJAB.
1 crore 40 lakh acre feet of Punjab water has been stolen every year.
1 Acre Feet = 1236,694 Liter
Total Stolen Water = 17,313,716,000,000 Liter/year
When British left Indian subcontinent in 1947, a sovereign nation name ‘Panjab’ (land of 5 rivers – “Panj = 5” “Abb = rivers”) was divided between India and Pakistan.
The Indian side Panjab (also spelled as Punjab) end up having two and half rivers Satluj, Beas and part of Ravi.
In 1948 Indian government decided to redirect those two rivers. For that matter, they build two big dams on both rivers and constructed 4 big canals, which took 76% of their water to the other states in India.
Panjab is purely an agriculture base state. Due to lack of river water, Panjabi farmer start drilling the underground water for their agricultural needs. Now they have no underground water let – even for their drinking needs.
Recently, Indian government decide to construct another canal to steal more water from Panjab’s river (out of leftover 24%). People of Panjab are perceiving that action as a Final Assault on them, because they are already experiencing the desertification of their land due to shortage of water.
Video:MacchiwareDaJungle source punjabhub.co
A documentary film based on water crisis in Punjab has raised concern over proposed revival of Saraswati river in Haryana.
“Final Assault” which was shown to public on Sunday at Bell Performing Arts Center in Surrey is based on river waters’ shortage which has resulted into agrarian crisis in Punjab.
Talking to this writer, the producer of the film, Sukhdeep Singh said that based on his research he believes that there are attempts to divert Punjab river waters to Haryana to revive mythical Saraswati river as part of the grand design of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP in New Delhi.
Although he clarified that there is no paper trail to establish this, he insisted; there are apprehensions that the amount of water required for such ambitious project will be diverted from rivers in Punjab. “The only option to feed Saraswati seems to be Sutlej river”. He warned that the people of Punjab should be vigilant about any attempt to take away more river water from the state which is already reeling under agrarian crisis on account of shortage of river waters.
Sukhdeep Singh thinks that this whole exercise should be situated in a broader context of the policies of the BJP which has been trying to rewrite the history of India in the name of religious nationalism.
“The way they created divisions among the people in the past by raising issues, such as Ram Mandir in Ayodhya they are now trying to create another controversy by reviving Saraswati in Haryana and polarizing people in the name of religion.”
His film cautions against such “divisive politics” on the basis of some public documents, news clips and interviews clips. Replying to a question, he said that the current BJP government in India is no different than Congress government in the past when it comes to Punjab. “Over the years Punjab has been forced to buy coal and gas from other states, whereas our river waters are being diverted to other states for free in complete violation of riparian laws.”
He has tried to link the current water crisis in Punjab with the political events of the past, including Operation Bluestar in 1984 and subsequent incidents of “repression on Sikhs.” Replying to a question he said that though he condemns murders of migratory labourers who worked at the disputed SYL canal site by the Sikh militants, the blame for violence lies mainly on the doorstep of the policy makers. “Whatever may be the reasons, innocent killings can never be justified.”
There was a thunderous applause from the audience at the end of the show and slogans of Bole So Nihal were raised by several spectators.
By Gurpreet Singh