Thursday, September 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ahir belt to start stir on water
From Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

NARNAUL, Sept 27 — The INLD government is likely to face the first major challenge in south Haryana, mainly from the Ahirwal belt spanning over Mahendragarh, Rewari and Gurgaon districts, with fresh stirrings in these areas against the alleged discrimination in distribution of water, jobs and development projects.

The Haryana Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (HYSS) headed by Mr Naresh Yadav has decided to organise a “padayatra” from various places in Mahendragarh district to Delhi from November 1 with the support of various organisations and personalities.

The padayatra will end in with a memorandum to the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, on November 10, urging him to intervene. The focus will be to highlight the successive governments’ failure to provide ample water to south Haryana.

The president of the HYSS, Mr Naresh Yadav, said leaders of national stature, including former Premier H.D. Deve Gowda, would be roped in after the padayatra led by him reached Delhi.

The restiveness among the residents of the area has the potential of working up people in some areas of Ahirwal belt of Jhajhar, which has been carved as an independent district from Rohtak.

The Ahirwal belt of Mahendergarh and Rewai (once the nerve centre of Ahirwal politics) has witnessed umpteen struggles, sometimes bloody ones, in the past. The Kadma and Mandhiali episodes and the police firing and lathi charge on people who had come to attend a public rally on the water issue is fresh in the minds of the people of the area. All struggles had to do with scarce supply of water to the area. All seemed innocuous in the initial stages.

Water sharing has been a sensitive issue in the entire Ahirwal belt. Residents of “pacchisi” (a cluster of 25 villages) in the Narnaul Assembly segment boycotted the last Assembly elections to register their protest against the “discriminatory” attitude of governments on the water issue.

Although water scarcity is endemic in the Ahirwal belt, the situation is dismal in more than 100 villages in the Narnaul and Atteli Assembly segments. Farmers in some of these villages surrounding Nangal Chaudhary told TNS that the water level in the area was continuously falling. The level ranged from 200-600 ft. The residents pointed out that the Krishnawati and Shahbi rivers which coursed through the Ahirwal belt had dried up a few year back, this had aggravated the situation.

The most affected are the farmers in this area. In comparison to their brethren in other parts of the state who raise about three to four crops annually, they are at times unable to raise even a single crop due to shortage of irrigation water.

The low rainfall this year has aggravated the problem. The plight of the farmers is going downhill leading to incongruities in the social fabric on account of continuous weakening of their economic status.

South Haryana has a high ratio of serving and retired persons from the forces.

The wide-ranging feeling in the area is that successive governments have ignored the water issue. There is heartburn in several quarters over Haryana’s share in the Ravi-Beas waters meant, exclusively for southern parts, being diverted to other parts of the state, especially Sirsa, Hisar, Tohana and Narwana. On account of this, there has been water logging in those areas.

The HYSS at its meeting a few days ago alleged that there was vested political interest in keeping the fields of south Haryana parched so that the economic well-being and political clout of the area was weakened.

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