Farmers seek canal water supply for irrigating fields, take to streets

JALANDHAR: Hundreds of farmers across the state under the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee today held protests outside the offices of the canal/drainage divisions demanding water to irrigate their crops, which they claimed was insufficient.

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 8

Hundreds of farmers across the state under the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee today held protests outside the offices of the canal/drainage divisions demanding water to irrigate their crops, which they claimed was insufficient.

The farmers held dharnas in Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur submitting demand letters that adequate water be provided to their fields, canals of the state be cleaned and lined to sustain water capacity and the government charge neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi for the water going there.

While farmers in Doaba have complained that they were not even receiving a third of water promised by the government from the 750-km long Bist Doab canal (which crosses through Nawanshar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and some parts of Kapurthala), XEN of the canal division told farmers outside his office that their complaints would be addressed. The farmers also submitted a demand letter to the XEN.

Farmers from Lohian, Shakot, Nurmahal, Nakaodar and Tarn Taran, who gathered at the dharna site, also complained that a number of villages near the Chitti Bein had been polluted.

Gurlal Singh, treasurer of the committee, said, “The government has released water into the canals without adequate cleaning or repair due to which water has spilled over in many places, causing damage to crops. The government doesn’t compensate farmers for the damage. On top of it, across the state, many drains and tributaries have dried up as for the last 10 years, there has been no water in them.”

Jathedar Mohan Singh, a farmer based in Jalala Khurd village, Lohina, said, “As many as 10-12 villages in Nakodar are suffering due to the polluted water of Chitti Bein. The water level is very low right now and it is so poisonous that our crops wither if we use it.”

XEN, Bist Doab, Canal Division, Davinder Singh, outside whose office farmers sat on a dharna, said, “The water had been released earlier and was stopped for some time due to repair work. It will be released again in a day or two. Due to some repairs, it has been held from time to time but it has been continuously flowing to Nawanshahr and south Jalandhar areas.”

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