Rajasthan govt assures to look into farmers' demand for more canal water

PTI | Jaipur | Updated: 03-10-2021 21:23 IST | Created: 03-10-2021 20:46 IST
Rajasthan govt assures to look into farmers' demand for more canal water
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
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The Rajasthan government on Sunday assured to look into the farmers' demand that more water be released for the upcoming Rabi season in the Indira Gandhi canal in Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts.

The canal, which runs through Rajasthan for 445 km, originates from Punjab's Harike barrage and its water is used for drinking and irrigation purposes in the northern and western districts of the state, especially in Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar.

The assurance came after state Water Resources Minister B D Kalla held a meeting with public representatives, a day after farmers laid siege to an SDM's office in Sri Ganganagar.

Farmers are demanding that water be released six to seven times into the canal for Rabi crops while the authorities have said it can be released only thrice, citing deficit rainfall. ''The quantity of water available for farmers will be fully assessed and distributed accordingly,'' Kalla assured, according to a statement. Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana said there was deficit rainfall this year, therefore, there is no adequate water.

No representative of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which is leading the agitation over the issue, turned up for the meeting, saying it should have been held in Sri Ganganagar.

''We have been demanding the release of water for Rabi crops for the past several days. The agitation was intensified on Saturday evening because the time of sowing has arrived and there is no assurance from the government,'' said Hetram Beniwal, former MLA and president of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha in Sri Ganganagar.

He said the Morcha boycotted the meeting and did not go to Jaipur. ''The issue can be discussed better in Sri Ganganagar. The meeting held today was attended by politicians and there was no farmer. We want a meeting here in our district so that the issue is actually resolved,'' he said.

Beniwal said over 20 lakh farmers are dependent on the canal water for irrigation in the region. ''Three-time water during the entire season is not adequate. The sowing time has already arrived. If water is released only thrice in the canal, then the gap between two supplies will be 40-45 days, which is quite long,'' he said.

''If water is released after 40-45 days, the crop will not survive. Therefore, we are demanding that the water be released seven times,'' he said. Beniwal said small crops such as mustard and chickpea need the release of water at least five times.

Inadequate supply of water will affect farmers in Rawla-Gharsana, Khajuwala, Suratgarh, Hanumangarh and Anupgarh.

Central council member of the Morcha, Syopat Meghwal, said the agitation will continue till the farmers' demands are not met.

Sri Ganganagar Collector Zakir Hussain said the government is looking into the demands of farmers.

He said the situation is peaceful and around 250 farmers are sitting on a dharna in Ghadsana at present. Hundreds of farmers gathered outside the SDM's office in Ghadsana and laid seige to the premises. They blocked the entry to the office following which additional police force was deployed. Some officials and police personnel posted there were briefly locked up inside the office by farmers, police sources said. Superintendent of Police Rajan Dushyant said police personnel have been deployed inside and outside the SDM's office. He said a battalion of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) has also been deployed to maintain law and order in the area.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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