Even as Rajasthan government is still struggling to drain out 10-12 feet of flood water from Kawas and Malva villages in Barmer district, the army was deployed in Ghadasna and Rawla towns to control the violent agitation of the farmers who were protesting against the inadequate release of water from Indira Gandhi canal to irrigate their Rabi crops.
The curfew was clamped on Tuesday in these towns and army staged the flag march to keep anti social elements at bay who could fish in troubled water.
More than 200 farmers and dozens of policemen were injured in the lathi charge and pelting of the stones by the crowd on security personnel at Ghadsana town late night.
Divisional commissioner Vinod Kapoor and inspector general police said security forces were forced to resort to lathi charge and tear gas as agitators had gone violent and started throwing stones.
More than 10,000 farmers laid siege to the town and leaders of Kisan Sanghrash Samiti owing their allegiance to CPI(M) were spearheading the agitation.
CPI(M) leaders Het Ram Beniwal and ex-pardhan RS Punia told Hindustan Times that government must immediately release about 200 leaders and agitators who had been arrested by the police.
They said “ farmers must get adequate quantity of water to irrigate their fields and police should stop the repression on the demonstrators.”
Principal secretary Irrigation SN Thanvi said that government had ensured the supply of the adequate water to the farmers from Indira Gandhi canal.
He said “the state government took the matter with Punjab government to release 8.60 maf from Ravi-Beas rivers which was legitimate share of Rajasthan but in vain.”
The farmers of Ganganagar and Hanumangarh had launched a agitation two years back to force the government to release more water.
Eight persons were killed due to police firing and government had to accept the demands of the farmers including adequate release of water.
Rajasthan gets 14100 cusecs of water from Pong dam in Punjab which is distributed by the irrigation department to the farmers through various canals.
The agitating farmers of Ghadsana etc are demanding 58 per cent of the total available water which is likely to deprive the farmers of tail end (Jaisalmer, Barmer districts etc) of their genuine share.
As per 1981 agreement signed between Rajasthan and Punjab, the former should get 8.60 maf of water but it is getting 8 maf only which is creating scarcity in five districts including Hanumangarh, Gangangar, Bikaner, Jaiselmer and Barmer.
Punjab government controls the release of the water at Hari Ke Barrage headwork which has put Rajasthan at the disadvantageous position.
The water sharing dispute has reached the apex court which may take several years thereby leaving Rajasthan at the mercy of Punjab.