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Flip-flop policy of BBMB may prove disastrous for Punjab
The flip-flop approach of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) towards water management of its reservoirs may prove disastrous for Punjab in view of high probability of spillage from Bhakra in August-September.

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) in a letter to Minister of State for Power has cautioned   the government that Bhakra water level is abnormally high this year and could result in certain spillage with consequent flooding of Sutlej areas.

On the one hand, flood warning has been issued in Punjab to alert those living near Sutlej areas warning them of possibility of floods due to opening of Bhakra spillway while on the other hand BBMB has cut back on generation by which about 5000 cusecs is being stored and causing an extra rise of level of 0.3 ft per day.

It may be mentioned that BBMB did increase the power generation to maximum during period of high rainfall and subsequently reduced power at Bhakra. The releases which were about 38000 cusecs in 2nd-3rd week of June were reduced to 33000.

Padamjit Singh chairman AIPEF said that there is a standing decision of BBMB that on 01 Aug the level should not exceed 1650 ft and on August 15 the limit is 1670 ft while on August 31 the limit is 1680. With present level in case there are mean inflows and even if generation is maximized spillage will start around mid-August.

The water level in Bhakra is around 1602 feet against 1534 feet on corresponding day last year. The level is 68 feet higher as compared to last year./p>

The possibility of flash floods in Sutlej upstream of Bhakra cannot be ruled out due to cloud burst phenomenon. There must be storage margin available in Dam to meet such eventualities. To keep storage margin the reservoir filling must be slowed down which is possible by keeping maximum generation at Bhakra.

Further, BBMB must be prepared to allow filling up to 1685 ft instead of present 1680. This extra 5 ft is crucial, said Padamjit Singh. The AIPEF made initial assessment that level at Bhakra as on August 1 should not be more than 1635 feet but present indications point out a level of 1651 feet. This implies chance of spillage equivalent to about 10-15 ft storage, which is simply huge.

Padamjit Singh further alleged that the track record of Chairman BBMB in dealing crisis situation is poor. The way the spillage was managed in 2010 and again in 2011 does not inspire any confidence. There is no chance of revival of unit 5 in next few months and only hope of revival of unit 2 in July may increase water usage for maximizing power generation.

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