Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Farmers allege massive corruption in construction of Bhanpura canal system


Shyamgarh (Mandsaur): Hundreds of farmers from 34 villages in Bhanpura tehsil of Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh alleged ‘massive corruption’ in the construction of Bhanpura canal system after it failed to stand even for a week after inauguration. Farmers, who were deprived of canal system since long anticipated that they will get enough water from the canal that will cater to the needs of agriculture requirement as well as other purposes after state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated canal system here on November 1. But there hopes were dashed as the canal got damaged on November 6, barely six days after it was inaugurated.

Water resource department had sanctioned Rs 300 crore for the project and the canal was constructed by spending a whooping Rs 82 crore. Farmers claimed that faulty construction and massive corruption in the construction was the sole reason behind the damage. Thousands of farmers of Osara, Kalakote, Sandhara, Dhabala Madhosingh and many other villages of this area situated on Madhya Pradesh – Rajasthan border have been affected due to the massive corruption in construction of canals, alleged Subhash Sojatiya, former minister and state Congress vice-president.

He said the sub-canals, which were supposed to bring Chambal water from the main canal to their fields, were never built properly.  After November 6 incident, two different situations prevailed here in the area. At some places farmers were waiting for water from the canal, while at few places fields were inundated because of the canal which was damaged at few places.

One of the farmers Nagu from Osara village claimed that he and many other farmers here are still dependant on rains for cultivation in absence of canal facilities.  “With beginning of canal system, we hoped that now we would get enough water for agriculture purposes and even purchased diesel water pump by borrowing money from money lenders in the village, but not a single drop of water we got so far,” Nagu said.

“Due to non-functional canals farming has become dependent mostly on rain water and this is adversely affecting crops and farmers, who are suffering irreparable losses,” Nagu added.

Nagu is not alone, as several farmers purchased pump sets by borrowing money from lenders, but now they have no option but to try and fetch water from the dry canal by pumping it. Farmers claimed that officials are not ready to listen to their grievances even after they submitted photographs of damaged canal. Farmers said that sub-canals are broken at a number of places due to use of substandard material and cement.

In some places, engineers have placed plastic sheets inside the canal after the inner lining was washed off in the rains,” farmers alleged. Meanwhile, after incident department officials are busy in damage control and blaming farmers for the damage. When contacted SD Shrivastava, assistant chief executive engineer, department of water resource, Ujjain division said that department has already repaired the canal and entire operation is going on smoothly. If canal caved in at some places, then we will look into it.

On the other hand, shifting onus on farmers, Gajraj Singh, project manager of Phaloudi Constructions and Infrastructure Private Limited claimed that farmers put siphons at some places and damaged the canal.  Before this, acting on complaint lodged by water resource department’s engineer, Bhanpura police registered case against unidentified persons.

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