Tribune News Service
Bathinda, November 13
The failure of the Irrigation Department to reconstruct a water channel has led to a crisis in which more than 100 villages in Mansa district have almost no access to water for irrigation and drinking for the last one-and-a-half month.
The Bhikhi distributary that supplies water to Mansa city and Bhikhi town has been lying dry for the last one-and-a-half month.
Officials of the Irrigation Department have halted the supply following reconstruction of around 12 km stretch of the distributary.
The work here was supposed to begin, along with repair of 13 km stretch of Kotla branch, on October 1, which was to be completed in 21 days.
Bhikhi distributary gets water from the Kotla branch that has been reconstructed.
Officials of the Irrigation Department have said that the water was not released as the reconstruction of Bhikhi distributary, which began 15 days late, was yet to be completed.
“Around 59 villages of four blocks of Mansa district are being supplied water from this distributary, including the Mansa city. We got the approval for reconstruction of the distributary late from our head office, following which, the construction process began on October 15 instead of October 1. In around three days, the reconstruction of the distributary will be completed and water will be released soon.”
Farmers are not getting water for irrigation in villages of Jhunir, Mansa, Bhikhi and Sardulgarh blocks.
The water shortage hit the farmers who were ready to sow their wheat crop after preparing their fields.
Ram Singh Bhenibagha, BKU Mansa president, said, “The state government is befooling the people by presenting themselves as water saviours and friend of farmers. However, on ground, they don’t even care for farmers who are struggling to get water for irrigation and drinking. Irrigation officials should be punished for delaying the reconstruction work as farmers are at loss following lack of water at the time of wheat sowing. The government has failed to provide water in tail end villages till date while no new irrigation channel has been constructed in the last 50 years.”
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