Updated: July 28, 2021 8:49:49 pm
FARMERS IN Punjab’s Malwa region, where the farming is mostly dependent on canal water, are up in arms against the state irrigation department so much so that the peasants have taken charge of five canal distributory headworks and are now controlling the distribution of water. This, however, has led to shortage in other canal distributories in Fazilka leading to farmers blocking the Fazilka- Hanumangarh bridge at Abohar demanding their fair share of water for orchards and fields.
Executive engineer at irrigation department’s Abohar branch Mukhtiar Rana said the department held a meeting with the farmer unions in Muktsar on Tuesday and urged them to lift dharnas from the headworks. “We need around 3600 cubic per second (cusec) water for Abohar, Balluana and nearby areas but are getting not more than 2600 cusec. Due to this, farmers at the tail end (of canal network) are facing water shortage. Farmers in Abohar are sitting on dharna since July 21. We have requested farmers in Muktsar to let us rationalise the distribution of water. We have also written to the police to lodge FIRs against them,” said Mukhtiar Rana.
Meanwhile members owing allegiance to several farmer unions – BKU Sidhupur, BKU Rajewal, BKU Ugrahan – are sitting on dharna at Sotha headworks, Karampatti headworks, Alamwala headworks, Bodiwala, and New Alamwala headworks, revealed information from irrigation department. Farmers of 60-70 villages of Muktsar take turns sitting on dharna at these headworks and divert water.
In Abohar too, several farmer unions are staging dharna against water shortage. Gurwant Singh Panjawa, Fazilka district president, BKU Rajewal, said, “The water shortage problem is an annual feature.
Earlier, monsoon rains used to make up for the water shortage but this time, there has hardly been any rain in our area. The irrigation department did not get the canals cleaned in time and is now blaming farmers of Muktsar for not allowing them to rationalise water distribution. It is just a blame game and nothing else. We are sitting on dharna art Hanumangarh bridge since July 21 and we will not lift it till the supply is regulated. We grow kinnow and cotton and are dependent on canal water. One can imagine the condition of our crops as we have been suffering from water shortage for one month.”
Rajesh Bhadoo, another farmer of Ramsra village in Abohar said,”If the problem is not resolved, we will seal Rajasthan’s borders and will restrict movement of people from both sides.”
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