Standing crops over hundreds of acres of land were destroyed after a breach occurred in the Aliwa Rajbaha canal near Noorpur Hakeema village under Dharamkot subdivision, 29 km from here, on Sunday early morning.
According to information, canal water also destroyed maize, menthe, fodder and feed stores of some farmers and damaged walls of more than two dozen houses. Residents said the breach occurred at a place where the canal bank had been weakened by the feet of the cattle that the farmers had brought to the canal.
On receiving information about the breach, Punjab agriculture minister Jathedar Tota Singh, deputy commissioner Parminder Singh Gill, senior superintendent of police Gurcharan Singh Sandhu and Ashok Raj Chohan, superintending engineer (SE), Sirhind canal, reached the site and supervised the efforts to plug the breach.
Earlier, hundreds of residents of nearby villages reached Noorpur Hakeeman and started the work to stop water flow with sand bags.
Ashok Singh, ex-sarpanch of Noorpur Hakeeman village, alleged that the irrigation department did not pay attention for cleaning the canal while the farmers of the area have been demanding it for the past two years. “Water has entered the village and different crops over 300 acres of land have been completely damaged. A special girdawari should be conducted immediately as well as sufficient compensation be provided to victims,” said Ashok Singh.
Master Palwinder Singh, member of the Block Samiti, Dharamkot, said that his 13-acre crop has been completely destroyed.
Surjit Singh, another farmer, alleged that delay in plugging the breach led to heavy damage to crops. “We want justice and compensation with immediate effect,” he added.
Ashok Raj Chohan, SE, irrigation department, said, “As soon as we received information of the breach, our senior and local level officials reached the spot and started work to plug the breach.”
Tota Singh said, “He has ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause for the breach. A strict action would be taken against any officials found responsible for this.”