Scores of farmers from villages on Gogera Branch Canal on Sunday staged a protest demonstration against irrigation water theft.
The protesters, holding banners and placards, gathered at Zila Council Chowk where they also staged a sit-in in front of the secretariat of the district government.
Kissan Board divisional president Ali Ahmad Goraya led the demonstration.
Addressing the participants, he said big landlords were depriving small farmers of their share of water.
“They steal water in connivance with officials the Irrigation Department,” he said.
He said the Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) had been set up to protect rights of small farmers but was indifferent to the plight of small farmers.
Goraya said the PIDA president had received bribes from farmers of Chak 26-GB, Chak 27-GB and Chak 28-GB and had allowed them to alter channels to get more canal water.
He said these villages were situated at Rajbah Jassoana. He said tail-enders had been deprived of water as a result.
“We have complained to the PIDA and the Irrigation Department a number of times but no one took notice of the issue,” he said.
The protestors chanted slogans against water theft.
They said they would stage a sit-in in front of the DCO’s office if their grievances were not resolved within a week.
Akram Ali, a representative of the DCO, met the farmers and assured them that their complaint would be looked into.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015.
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