FACING POLITICAL attacks from opposition and farmers organisations over the Dadupur Nalvi canal, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday said the decision to denotify the canal was taken in the interest of farmers and the state. Claiming his government was “pro-farmer”, he said the government would not force any farmer to take back his land acquired for the project. Farmers were worried over the reports that they have to return the compensation amount along with 15 per cent interest to the government to reclaim their land acquired for the canal.
But Khattar said, “We won’t force any farmer to take back his land. If farmers don’t take their land back, we will use it for recharging of water.”
Giving reasons for denotifying the land, the CM said the project was not viable as “it failed to fulfill the purpose for which it was conceived”. He said a scheme on which the government spent more than Rs 300 crore nearly 10 years ago, for which more than 1,000 acres of fertile land of farmers was acquired, is irrigating only around 300 acres, that too only during kharif crop season. This is already an extremely expensive proposition. The present enhancement amount of 580 crores for 167 acres can go up to about Rs 2,800 crore, if in future balance acquired land (2005 onwards) also attracts similar enhancement, he added. He said that after issuance of notification for de-notifying the land, the government would appoint a committee to which the land owners may apply for damages for restoration of land.
He said that initially in 1985, the scheme envisaged to supply 590 cusecs water round the year to irrigate 46,717 hectare land by using surplus Ravi Beas water on completion of Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. He said that though around 190 acres was acquired, but largely the scheme remained a non-starter due to non-completion of SYL. The water availability from the scheme was scaled down in 2005 to use 590 Cusec of surplus Yamuna water during rainy season for only about two months in a year.