MP: Farmers go on rampage to stop water distribution from dam
Farmers from 15 villages of Manasa tehsil set a water filter plant ablaze and destroyed a pipeline in Neemuch after their 10-day-long protest to stop a project to apportion water from Chamleshwar Dam to 29 more villages became violent on Friday.
Over 150 farmers have been booked for arson and violence that damaged property worth more than Rs 5 crore and snapped water supply to Manasa and Deekan areas.
The protesters fear distribution of water to more areas will cause water shortage in the villages located near the dam built on Rupa river, a tributary of Chambal.
The farmers said the authorities had acquired their land for construction of the Chamleshwar Dam and were supplying water to them for last 20 years, but now suddenly they decided to distribute water to 29 other villages without consulting them.
“We were protesting against the water supply project for the last 10 days, but the administration never bothered to listen to us. The pipeline project should have been started after taking us (people belonging to 15 villages) into confidence, because we have given land for construction of the dam,” claimed Motilalal, a resident of Kanjarda village.
On Friday afternoon, the villagers turned violent and barged into the Chameleshwar dam office premises, located about 45 km from Neemuch district.
They damaged the pumping station, set afire the machinery and a filter plant and broke the pipeline that supplied water to Manasa and Deekan areas.
Farmers’ leader Umarao Gurjar blamed the district administration for the violence.
“When the farmers were on protest for last 10 days, why did the officials not make any effort to talk to them? No farmer was consulted before laying the pipelines to 29 other villages,” he said.
Police have so far identified 17 farmers involved in the Friday violence and arson and have booked them under various section of the Indian Penal Code.
Neemuch district collector Rajneesh Shrivastava told HT water supply to Manasa and Diken towns were snapped after the filter plant was set on fire.
“Our first priority is to restore water supply to these towns,” he said.
The collector said the new water supply project sought to provide water to 29 other villages in the tehsil and would continue because it was for the larger benefit of the region.
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- The local district administration and health officials said the situation is under control but it can turn from bad to worse if people don’t get alert.