Fazilka’s people got a reason to cheer on Sunday when the foundation stones of three water-tank projects were laid in the city.
The projects worth Rs. 5.70 crore are expected to arrange potable water all year for the city, which now receives it only for seven months. Earlier, a 17-kilometre-long pipeline was laid from Bodhiwala village to Fazilka for Rs. 12 crore to bring drinking water to the city. There is no canal with perennial water in Fazilka, so special permission came from the Rajasthan government to take 7-cusec water a day from the Bikaner Canal (Gang Canal) at Bodhiawala village in Fazilka district.
Irrigation authorities were to release more due water to Rajasthan in lieu of that. As the groundwater in Fazilka contains excess fluoride and is unfit for drinking, in 1998, Surjit Kumar Jiyani, then forest minister, was instrumental in arranging approval for the mega project to fetch water from the Jandwala minor.
The water in it remained for only six months, and the rest of the year, there was no water for Fazilka. Anil Sethi, president of the municipal committee of Fazilka, said of the 7-cusec water arranged, 2 cusecs would go to the army. The municipal committee had contributed 10% money in the project and the rest came from the state government.
Cabinet minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani and deputy commissioner Basant Garg together laid the foundation stones of the water-tank projects.