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Tribune Exclusive
Punjab tells Ríthan to pay Rs 33 cr
Repair of Inter-state Canals
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 16
Punjab has urged Rajasthan to clear payment of repair and maintenance of inter-state canals, failing which legal complication may arise.

Though water to Rajasthan is being carried for irrigation through Ferozepur feeder and Rajasthan, Bikaner and Bhakra Main Line (BML) canals from Punjab, it has not been making payment for their repair and maintenance and salary component.

Punjab, in a letter, has asked Rajasthan to pay Rs 33 crore spent on the maintenance and repair of the canals and also on the salary of BML division, Mansa. Punjab has pointed out that repair and maintenance of these canals were urgently needed and executed with the concurrence of Rajasthan after joint inspection by officers of both states. However, due to the non-release of funds by Rajasthan, payment could not be made to the contractors. Punjab has told Rajasthan that funds were not released though the issue had been taken up with it earlier also.

Rajasthan is to pay Rs 1.15 crore for the works executed to repair Ferozpur feeder from 0- 168223 RD from April 11 to 25 this year. Besides it, Rs 3.02 crore was spent to enhance the carrying capacity of Rajasthan canal apart from repairing its lining, filling hollow joints and some protection works.

On the repair and maintenance of the Bikaner canal, Rs 1.75 crore is to be paid by the Rajasthan government. Punjab has pointed that there was an outstanding Rs 23.51 crore against Rajasthan. This amount relates to salary paid to staff in BML division at Mansa from 1990-91 to 2006-07. As per agreement with Rajasthan in 1983, salary of the staff in Mansa division of BML is to be paid by Rajasthan. BML takes water to Rajasthan through Mansa district.

Punjab has said there is no reason for it to incur financial liabilities for Rajasthan. Also some of the canals such as Rajasthan canal have damaged the enviorment in Punjab. Because of seepage from Rajasthan and other canals carrying water to Rajasthan, a large part of the Abohar-Fazilka belt has been facing water-logging. A large tract of land has been rendered infertile in that part. Punjab has spent crores in that part, at the cost of other areas, to tackle water-logging.

However, Punjab has never asked Rajasthan to compensate it for the losses it has been suffering due to water-logging by canals carrying water to that state.

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