Canal water theft on the rise in Dhankar’s home district

JHAJJAR: Efforts made by officials of the Irrigation Department to check canal water theft are proving insufficient in Irrigation and Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar’s home district as farmers are stealing more than 50 per cent of available water here to irrigate their crops.

Canal water theft on the rise in Dhankar’s home district

Depleted water flow in a drain in Jhajjar due to water theft. A Tribune photograph

editorial@tribune.com

Ravinder Saini

Tribune News Service

Jhajjar, July 20

Efforts made by officials of the Irrigation Department to check canal water theft are proving insufficient in Irrigation and Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar’s home district as farmers are stealing more than 50 per cent of available water here to irrigate their crops.

Though the Irrigation Department has registered 234 cases of water theft across the district in the past 15 days, farmers of the villages located at the tail-ends of the canals are being deprived of their share of water.

Sources say the canal water theft is on the rise since the beginning of the paddy cultivation as the farmers in the district are not getting adequate water to irrigate their fields. However, two short spells of pre-monsoon rain had initially brought cheers to the farmers.

“The farmers either put rubber pipes in canals or drains and draw water through engine or breach the banks of the drains and the sub-drains. The situation takes a toll on waterworks and pushes tail-end villages towards a water crisis,” they said.

SK Garg, executive engineer, Irrigation Department, said 850 cusec water was being released in the canals and drains every month to serve drinking and irrigation water needs of the people, but more than 50 per cent water was being stolen by farmers to irrigate their fields.

“The farmers usually indulge in water theft at the time of paddy cultivation, which needs considerable amount of water. For the reason, a rise in the case of water theft has been recorded during past a month. As many as 121 cases of water theft were reported in June and 234 cases have so far been reported in this month,” said Garg.

He said there were 51 canals and drains in the district to provide drinking and irrigation water to the people. The maximum cases of theft had been reported in villages of Beri sub-division, he said.

“Time has been fixed to open the gates of the canal. Officials of the Irrigation Department intensify night patrolling in these days to prevent the water theft,” Garg said.

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