When East India Company came to India,they did many economical and global development in India-widening of roads,building historical monuments and construction water canals.In 1860s,they built the first canal in the Gurdaspur area of Amritsar.During 1880-1920,the great canal colonies were built by the Britishers in West Punjab.The dry and barren areas of Punjab turned into a highly productive and irrigated lands.The people who used to be roam in rags became the richest of all.
In 1947,Punjab got divided into two parts-East Punjab(in India) and West Punjab(in Pakistan).In East Punjab,the land was equally divided among peasants.Some nine lakh tube wells and the Bhakara Nangal dam were built in 1960s and 1970s.Sweet water was available at just 15 feet in the well and it flows through canals which were very near to the farms.
However,in West Punjab,the division of land was not equal,means, there was a huge variation in the farms.Nevertheless,the life of people in West Punjab was also smooth and prosperous,and in fact,water was available in large amounts which was sufficient for them.
In 1960,to divide the water equally between East and West Punjab,
Jawahar Lal Nehru(from India) and Ayub Khan(from Pakistan) signed Indus Water Treaty in Karachi mediated by World Bank president Eugene Black.
For 50 years, this worked well and both the Punjabs had ample of water.But,the situation never remained the same when the water availability per capita,per person has reduced from 5000 cubic meters to 1600 cubic meters in West Punjab due to increase in the population growth and its more dependence on water.In East Punjab,6000 cubic meters of potable water was available per person,per year.But now,it has become only 1600 cubic meters and it would be reduced further to 1147 cubic meters by 2050.The nine lakh which were built some 60 years ago are now dangled dry.The rich have started digging the land further for water which is a matter of deep concern since one deep tubewell will dry the remaining around it.
Both the Punjabs are facing the same problem and the water in the tubewells have reached the grey area.In West Punjab,the problem is more severe and serious than in East.The farmers are unable to irrigate their farms.More water crisis was seen in East Punjab when people started moving from west to east in search of water.
From 10 years hence,the trouble would get worse with more anxiety and hysteria among the peasants for potable water.The scarcity of water has now become a social issue and we should rise above,and beyond,politics and should focus more on the conservation and judicious use of water.
Development Commission of Punjab(East),Dr.M.S Gill had said that the constant monitoring of the nine lakh tubewell would be done and the detailed report of depletion and recharging of ground water should be made by High Commissioner for ground water management.
By conserving the water judiciously and efficiently,the scarcity of water would get reduce to some extent.Let both the Punjabs think scientifically and socially to overcome the problem of water because now is the time and need for the conservation of water,which has become a global issue.