Amidst the ongoing public dispute between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena over the flooding situation in Delhi, a similar blame game is unfolding in Punjab, where the AAP is in power. The Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader, Arvind Kejriwal, has attributed the flooding in the capital to the release of water from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana, which is governed by the BJP. On the other hand, the Punjab government, led by Bhagwant Mann, has pointed fingers at factors beyond its control, particularly the release of water by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), a central authority.
The BBMB had planned to release 20,000 cusecs of water, but the Punjab government objected, citing existing breaches along the banks of the Sutlej river and the worsening situation caused by flooding. Consequently, the BBMB decided to postpone the release of water. Heavy rainfall has inundated several districts in Punjab, including Ropar, Jalandhar, Patiala, and Ferozepur.
In Delhi, Kejriwal wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, expressing concern about the rising water levels of the Yamuna river, which have submerged large areas of the capital. He attributed this to the release of water from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana, rather than solely to rainfall. The Kejriwal government, facing criticism from the BJP and Congress regarding its preparedness for the monsoon, has been emphasizing that it has no control over the release of water from the Hathnikund barrage.
The Punjab AAP chief spokesperson, Malvinder Singh Kang, has suggested that there is politics at play in the floods. He claimed that water flows from the Hathnikund barrage to both the Yamuna river and a canal in Uttar Pradesh, but instead of releasing water to Uttar Pradesh, it was all directed towards the Yamuna, causing flooding in Delhi. Kang further alleged that a similar situation was planned for Punjab, but the government intervened in time to prevent the release of water by the BBMB.
Kang also stated that the water level at the Bhakra dam was not close to the danger mark, implying that it would be more prudent to address the existing flooding in Punjab before allowing another surge of water. This has led to questions about the intentions of other authorities involved in managing the water release. Kang clarified that while the floods were a natural calamity, their concerns lie in the handling and management of the situation.