Amritsar, September 14
Farmers from four districts of Majha — Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Pathankot — have announced an indefinite protest outside the canal office here from September 19.
The protest will be organised by Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, a farmers association. The association is demanding relining of Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) so that it could carry the full sanctioned discharge of 9000 cusecs.
At present due to old and worn out infrastructure, the canal can carry only around 4000 cusecs of water. Built in 1853, UBDC is one of the oldest canal systems of the region and provides irrigation water to 1.35 million acres of land in all the four districts of Majha region.
Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala president of Jamhoori Kisan Sabha said, “We demand the strengthening of the banks of the canal, all its distributaries and minor canals so that water reaches each and every field.” He complained that farmers were forced to draw ground water for irrigation, which had caused depletion of water table.
With no canal water available in most of the areas, the farmers are over dependent on ground water, said Rattan Singh Randhawa, another farmer leader. He also highlighted the issue of releasing sewerage water in the canal and called the practice disturbing.
“Not long ago, farmers relied on canal water only and used tubewells only in case of dire needs. Now most of the villages do not even get canal water,” he said adding that the government should take up the issue on priority as life and livelihood of people depends on agriculture.
Demand relining of Uppar Bari Doab Canal
The protest will be organised by Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, a farmers’ association. The association is demanding relining of Uppar Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) so that it could carry the full sanctioned discharge of 9,000 cusecs.
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