Despite having multiple authorities to preserve depleting groundwater of the state, the Punjab government has constituted another authority under the name of Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority (PWRDA). It will put more financial burden on already cash strapped state government, but without any valid reason.
But most shocking is the appointment of former chief secretary (CS), Karan Avtar Singh, at the top post of PWRDA despite stiff opposition from various ministers. Various leaders of Punjab congress government had a showdown with Singh during a formal meeting over a revenue scam of hundreds of crores. Though by removing Singh from the post of CS, Punjab CM had sent a strong message that bureaucracy will not be allowed to override elected representatives, but the reappointment of Singh within few days of his removal, has once against reconfirmed that state bureaucracy is has become unchallengeable in state and even Punjab CM is also not able to able take any action despite repeated demands from his ministers.
Apart from putting the elected representative in poor light, the appointment of Singh will also cause a huge financial burden on state government. As per the notification, Chairman of PWRDA will get basic pay of Rs 2.25 lakh with a dearness allowance off 21 per cent and will also get subsidized power supply, free accommodation and other facilities. Apart from chairman, the members of PWRDA will get also similar pay and facilities.
In January this year, Punjab Assembly had passed Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2020 and paved the way for the creation of PWRDA to manage critical water resources in the border state.
But experts say that Punjab already had many authorities to preserve groundwater all have failed and groundwater has been depleting fast. Alone constitution of new authority will not bring desired result, but Punjab government needs to set deadline to achieve targets.