Theft of irrigation water continues unabated in the district as politically influential landlords enjoy “impunity” and no action is taken against them, said local farmers.
Earlier, water was stolen from water channel with cuts or breaches, they said. Now, they added, the influential farmers cut canals to irrigate their land thus the small farmers especially at tail end do not get even a single drop of water, and their complaints to irrigation officers go unattended.
Inayat Gondal, one of the farmers, said that he belongs to village Kadhar where small farmers are deprived of their due share of water.
He said he with other aggrieved farmers lodged a complaint to DCO who the asked AC Mandi Bahauddin to visit the spot to ascertain authenticity of the complaint. “
The AC visited the site when some influential landlords were stealing water with pipe from Mangat Rajbah and throwing the water in Moga. Capacity of water flowing through the pipe was three times more than Moga. SDO Irrigation along with his staff was present at this occasion who took the pipe into his possession.
The AC submitted report of water theft to DCO who like good postmaster referred the same to Executive Engineer Canal Gujrat for proper legal action against the thieves. But so far no action has been initiated against the culprits,” he said.
The farmer alleged that the water theft continued with connivance of irrigation officials. “No action is taken against influential persons involved in water theft crime. To show their performance, some time the irrigation SDO lodged a case against small farmers for stealing water on the information of lower staff. About two months back in Malikwal tehsil SDO irrigation got a case registered with police against persons who had passed away since long,” he said.
The small farmers had urged Punjab chief minister to take a strict measure to stop water theft and judicial distribution of water to all the shareholders.