The struggle for irrigation water in Nohar, Rajasthan

If our demands are not met, we will step up our agitation!

Countless farmers from several villages in Nohar tehsil, in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan, are sitting in a dharna in front of the Subdivisional Office under the banner of the ‘Kisan, Mazdoor, Vyapaar Sangharsh Samiti’. The dharna which began on 1st Noventered its 13th continuous day on Nov 13. The farmers gave their charter of demands to the Subdivisional Officer and also sent it to the Chief Minister. They are demanding an immediate resolution of their irrigation water problems as these demands have not been met for a long time.

Nohar_dharna

Farmers from many villages in the region have been protesting one after the other. Farmers from one village hold a dharna on one day, followed by another village on the next. The villages which have been protesting are – Ramgarh, Parlika, Gogamedi, Dhilki, Ujjlavaas, Barvali, 24 NTR, Bhukraka, Nethrana, Khachvada, Bhakhada, Soti, Araiyavali Dhani, Musri etc. and the dharna has been rapidly picking up pace.

It is well-known that the farmers have gone on multiple dharnas and protests in the past and have submitted many charters of their demands. However, the administration has never provided them with any relief or support.

Many leaders addressed the farmers in a vibrant public meeting the day before the dharna. The speakers included – Hanuman Prasad Sharma (All-India Vice President, Lok Raj Sangathan), Comrade Om Sahu (ex Sarpanch), Comrade Madan Beniwal (Convener, Kisan, Mazdoor, Vyapaar Sangharsh Samiti), Juglal Khati (President, Jal Upbhokta Sangathan), Raghubir Chinpa (ex Sarpanch), Lakshmi Narayan Beniwal, Dr. Krishna Nokhwal, Maniram Lakesar and Kanhaiya Lal Jain etc.

The key demands of farmers are:

The water supply that is accorded to the Amarsingh branch from the start till 1998 should be provided.

The boundaries of Amarsingh branch and its distributors NTR, DPN, MSR and BDR etc. should be demarcated and the trees growing on the canal area should be felled.

The Amarsingh branch along with its canals and miners have not been repaired for a long time. Hence, a budget should be allotted and repairs and silt cleaning should be done.

A stringent investigation should be done to stop the increasing water theft, to strike fear in the water mafia and stop the theft of water.

The remaining channels of Amarsingh branch should be repaired according to the orders of the Honourable High Court so that water that was being drawn over the allotted amount can be saved and can then reach the tail.

There is no provision for direct laying of channels in the main canal. Therefore, a ditch miner should be used and irrigation facilities should be provided to nearby areas.

Illegal construction watering pits should be torn down as it violates the guidelines to stop water theft.

The administration called the farmers’ representatives for talks but the talks were not successful. The representative said that “Till the time the administration fulfils our demands, we will continue with our struggle and we are now deliberating on stepping up our agitation”.

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