Chandigarh: The situation is grim in Punjab and Haryana. An acute water and power crisis has hit both the states as water levels in the Bhakra Nangal Dam are down to a critical level.
The farmers are now frequently taking their protests to the streets in Kurukshethra where there is an acute power shortage. Dozens of villages in Kurukshetra get just over four hours of power a day even though it is the paddy sowing season.
Farmer Gurvinder Singh said, "The power supply has been non existent for weeks, not only are our fields parched, we aren't getting drinking water too. The government claims it is supplying power for 18 hours a day."
The situation is similar in other parts of Haryana and neighbouring states. Normally the fields there are full this time of the year. They are lying unused now because paddy transplantation is yet to start.
Ludhiana farmer Pavittar Pal Singh said, "Because of the lack of rains, the cost of sowing paddy has surged."
With the monsoon well behind schedule the crisis is getting worse by the day. The water levels at the Bhakra dam, a major lifeline for Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, is down to the critical mark.
The power crisis is acute in Punjab, the granary of the country. The state needs at least 2,100 lakh units a day, but it gets only 1,900 lakh units, leading to a shortfall of 200 lakh units a day.
There is now a three-hour power cut in all the district headquarters and other areas get just eight hours of power a day.
Already reeling from a power and water crisis, the warning from the Bhakra management of dwindling reservoir levels has come as a blow to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. If the monsoons get delayed any further, things could soon turn from bad to worse.