Nearly 50-feet breach, which developed in the Abohar branch canal near Dhilwan Kalan village on Saturday night, has inundated 1,000 acres of Kothe Hawana village and some part of land of Chack Bhag Singh covering 50-70 houses in the fields. Water had also reached near Jaitu road.
By 2 pm on Sunday, the breach could not be plugged and water was flowing continuously. "Though all the officials concerned were informed on Saturday night and the canal department officials also reached the site to take stock of the situation, not much has been done by the government machinery to plug the breach," area farmers alleged.
The canal department officials expressed helplessness due to reported non-availability of the funds, though Nirmal Singh Brar, XEN, canal department, Faridkot, was supervising the work on the spot.
"On Sunday morning, we were ready to plug the breach but we were told that the work has been done. When we again checked with the people, we came to know that nothing has been done. We called our volunteers to fill the breach," said a man leading volunteers of a religious dera, which has considerable influence in the region.
"It is the dera followers who are engaged in the work to plug the breach. Even several farmers whose fields have been submerged have not reached the site," said Inderjeet Singh, a local youth.
"It is the responsibility of the irrigation department to get the breach filled but the officials concerned have told us that they cannot do anything because the funds are not available. If the department does not have funds, it is the responsibility of the government to provide funds to complete such works and farmers are not responsible for this," said Atma Singh Dhillon, a farmer.
The paddy had been planted on most of the area, which has submerged and farmers have spent about Rs. 2,000 per acre on labour of paddy transplantation and have further spent on herbicides but there would be a loss of the crop, Atma Singh claimed.
"About 1,000 acres of land has been flooded as water is flowing for about 18 hours. Water has also spilled on the link roads leading to our houses," said Inderjeet Singh, a youth from Kothe Hawana village.
"If there is more rainfall, there would be more problems for farmers because the canal water in the fields would not be able to reach the drain," farmers said.
When contacted, Nirmal singh Brar, XEN, irrigation department, Faridkot, said, "The funds are a problem and we cannot immediately take steps to plug the breach. The bank of the canal is very strong, but water was flowing at peak level due to excessive rain, which caused the breach. The breach has been closed now with the help of the dera followers and the department would strengthen it later."
The Abohar branch canal is left with little water near Dhilwan Kalan village because most water is derived step by step before it reaches here.