The Punjab Government has tightened the screw on people puncturing canal illegally to irrigate their fields. The offence of theft of canal water would now attract a fine of Rs.5000 and 6 month imprisonment. The Punjab Government has amended ‘Canal and Drainage Act, 1873’ to this effect.Disclosing this here today, Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said that the Punjab Government has taken serious view of the increasing incidence of theft of canal water by the farmers, who were illegally puncturing the canals. He said that SAD-BJP government was committed for the welfare of farmers and agricultural labourers. He said that the government was duty bound to ensure the availability of water for irrigation but at the same time, theft of canal water could not be tolerated at any cost.Mr. Sekhon further informed that the Punjab Government has amended the section 70 of the ‘Canal and Drainage Act, 1873’. He said that a fine of Rs.5000 would be imposed on the offender for theft of canal water for the first time or 6 month imprisonment or both. He said that for the first offence of canal water theft, water supply to the offender would be stopped for next two turns.Irrigation Minister said that for the second offence of canal water theft, the water supply would be ceased for full term during the crop season. He said that in case any person still continues to use water in an unauthorized manner, he would be excluded from the command area of the canal for a period of two years. Mr. Sekhon said that when supply of water of the offender is stopped, his share of canal water would be distributed judiciously amongst the other share holders falling in the command area of the canal from where offender is drawing canal water. Mr. Sekhon said that offender could also appeal before Superintending Canal Officer (SCO) within 30 days. He said the before this amendment, there was a provision of Rs.1000 fine or 1 month imprisonment or both, which has now been substituted with the fine of Rs.5000 or 6 month imprisonment or both.Speaking on the reports of breach in minors, Mr. Sekhon said that it has been noticed that in case of heavy rain, farmers used to close the water outlets emerging from minors to irrigate their fields, on its own. He said that this obstruction leads to increase in water level in the minor, which aggravates with the rain water. He said that in this situation, the pressure on the minor's embankment increases, which results in breach. He appealed the farmers to coordinate with the irrigation department and not to close the water outlets on its own.