With the water level in the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada in Gujarat falling, the forest department has started removal of some 1.7 lakh dead trees in the catchment area which now stand above the water.
Not just trees, but old temples which were submerged when the reservoir filled up have now become visible, attracting devotees.
Water level of the dam has gone down below 107 metres due to the scanty rainfall last monsoon in Madhya Pradesh, officials said.
Deputy conservator of forests Sasi Kumar told PTI that the department has deployed 70 labourers in the catchment area for removal of nearly 1.7 lakh dead trees.
The task is expected to be completed by month-end, he said.
"If these trees are not removed, they will decrease the water-holding capacity of the dam. So their removal is justified," Kumar said.
The ancient Hafeshwar temple in neighbouring Narmada district is now visible. People are visiting the temple by taking boats from Kawant town, 15 km away.
Chief secretary of Gujarat, Dr J N Singh, said a high-level committee headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is monitoring the water situation, and there is no need to panic.
After approval from the Narmada Control Authority, the state has started using 'dead stock' of water (which can not be drawn out through canals) in the dam for meeting drinking water needs of nearly 10,000 villages and 135 towns, he said.
Due to scanty rainfall in catchment areas, there is about 45 per cent shortage of water in the dam, Singh said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)