In a major decision benefiting the millions of farmers of Kandi area across the state, Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday waived off the maintenance, repair and operation charges and its outstanding arrears on the state tubewells in the kandi and non-kandi belt for irrigation.
A decision to this effect was taken by Badal in a meeting with the MLAs and senior leaders of SAD-BJP in the kandi region here at Punjab Bhawan this morning.
Acceding to the long pending demand of these leaders representing kandi area in the state especially Hoshiarpur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr), Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Pathankot district, Chief Minister waived these charges amounting to Rs 6.50 crore including arrears on these tubewells installed by the Punjab Water Resources Management and Development Tubewell Corporation. Meanwhile, the Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon apprised the Chief Minister that in future to ensure proper maintenance and operation of state tubewells to be installed by the bidder for next seven years, a condition to this effect has already been incorporated in the tenders invited for this purpose. It may be recalled that these charges @ Rs1 and Rs 1.60 paise per unit was being charged from the consumers as maintenance and operation charges in kandi and non kandi belt respectively.
Taking a strong exception to the laxity shown by the PWRMDTC for inordinate delay of more than a year for energizing these tubewells, the Chief Minister directed the Irrigation Minister to look into the reasons for this lapse and fix the responsibility accordingly to ensure this should never be repeated in future. The Chief Minister also decided to form a three member panel comprising the Irrigation Minister, Industries and Technical Education Minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Principal Secretary Irrigation Sarvesh Kaushal to prepare a master plan for the lift irrigation in the kandi area as a viable alternative to the traditional mode of tubewell irrigation.
Badal asked the Irrigation Minister to personally visit the kandi areas to take stock of the situation about the scanty irrigation facilities there so that the ongoing tubewell and lift irrigation schemes could be augmented to relive the people from the hardships faced by them in this regard. He also directed Kaushal to visit these difficult areas along with the team of engineers so as to hasten the completion of these irrigation projects and latter assured the Chief Minister that he would personally check each and every tubewell so that all non operational tubewells could be energized by installing motors at the earliest.
Badal was also informed in the meeting that the 30 KM stretch of second phase of kandi canal would be commissioned by the end of current fiscal and the complete project of kandi canal stage II comprising length of 70 KM and five lift irrigation schemes having irrigation potential of 29,000 hectare area by March 2015.
Assuring the Chief Minister that he would too visit the kandi area and hold a joint meeting of all MLAs and senior leaders at Hoshiarpur in the third week of February, Sekhon said that he would resolve all issues related to the augmentation of irrigation schemes in the region to their satisfaction.