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Farmers block canal to protest ‘improper’ water distribution

Alleging improper distribution of canal water among the consumers,farmers from Gumjal in Abohar tehsil have created an artificial barrier at the tail-end of the Malukpura minor canal near the village.

Alleging improper distribution of canal water among the consumers,farmers from Gumjal in Abohar tehsil have created an artificial barrier at the tail-end of the Malukpura minor canal near the village. The farmers are sitting on dharna since January 1 and have declared that until the government gives them “proper” water supply,they would not lift the dharna.

Surinder Bishnoi,one of the farmers sitting on dharna,said,”We have been pleading with the authorities to listen to our problems. For the past two years,we are not getting proper water because our village is at the tail-end.” He added,”We had given an ultimatum that our dharna will start from January 1 if our demands are not met,but now they are threatening us.”

Farmers claimed they were getting 30 per cent of the total requirement and were facing losses. Abohar Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar has also supported the farmers. He said the shortage of water was a perennial problem and farmers had been “forced to protest” by erecting a barrier in the canal.

The barrier may damage the walls of the canal,and affect crops in more than 40 surrounding villages. Though supply was suspended for two days due to a breach in Qabarwala village because of some other unknown reason,the water was released last night in the canal. Executive Engineer,Canals Department,Vijaypal Singh Mann,said,”We visited the farmers at the dharna site and tried to convince them. If they do not lift the dharna,we will use force,as creating a barrier on a canal is illegal. Though at present the supply is affected by the breach in Qabarwala,once the water is released after two days,it can cause damage to the canal and surrounding areas.”

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Mann said only big farmers were sitting on dharna. “We are giving proper water supply to the area. Now that more funds have come in,we can further increase the inflow.”

First published on: 05-01-2010 at 04:34 IST
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