A number of farmers bodies have opposed the proposal to increase the water rate and asked the government to allow them to pay it through banks.
Agriforum Pakistan Chairman Ibrahim Mughal, Muttahida Kissan Mahaz President Ayub Mayo and Kissan Board Pakistan representatives said that the Planning Commission’s proposal to raise water rates will fail. They said that patwaris would take their cut and neither the government nor farmers will benefit. They said that the British had been collecting abiyana through lumberdars and patwaris because there were no banks. Ibrahim Mughal said that farmers have to pay 300 percent more than the actual dues due to “patwari tactics.” He said that the Indian government had abolished the abiyana tax since it had been spending more on the revenue staff them what it collected. Farmers are required to pay Rs135 per acre each year for two crops but are receiving 40 per cent less water due to water scarcity, he said. He said the option of allowing farmers to deposit water rates at banks was a win-win for both farmers and bankers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.