Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the irrigation department to immediately moot a proposal for amending the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act to check the growing malpractice of water theft in the state.
This was decided by Mr. Badal in a meeting to review the functioning of irrigation department here at Chief Minister’s Office this morning.
Mr. Badal asked the Chief Engineer Canals to submit a comprehensive proposal for making amendments in the relevant provision of punishment clause under the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act to prevent the unscrupulous persons indulging in theft of water on the pattern of Haryana and Rajasthan. Likewise, Mr. Badal also agreed to the proposal of the department to bring the operation and maintenance of water courses by making relevant amendments in the said Act.
The Chief Minister also gave in principle approval to fill the vacant posts of the SDOs through Punjab Public Service Commission and asked the department to immediate initiate the process for the recruitment. Mr. Badal also asked the Chief Secretary to immediately allow the irrigation department to fill the 50% of vacant posts of patwaris through promotion in order to cope up the shortage of patwaris, which had adversely hampered the functioning of the department since long. He also conceded to the proposal for the creation of the post of Engineer-in-Chief in the department.
Mr. Badal further asked the chief secretary to convene a joint meeting of the officers of forests and irrigation departments to direct the forest department not to undertake plantation of trees on the banks and berms in future which resulted in colossal damage due to frequent breaches in the canal, distributaries and minors. He also asked the Irrigation Minister Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon to regularly check the quality of construction of on-going projects in the state and further make concerted efforts to bring micro and macro improvement in the canal system because the canal irrigation was the life line of state’s agrarian economy. He also directed the Principal Secretary Irrigation to coordinate with the Secretary Ministry of Water Resources GoI to assess the feasibility of relining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders without its closure through some latest available technology otherwise the work on these projects should be started positively by April 1, 2013 by closing the canals. He assured the departmental officers that he would soon call on the Union Water Resources Minister for the early resolution of all pending issues with the Ministry. He also asked the Principal Secretary Irrigation to chalk out a time bound action plan for the eradication of water logging in the water logged areas in the state.
Meanwhile, the Chief Engineer Drainage apprised Mr. Badal that the funds to the tune of Rs. 4966.11 lac were required for desilting of water logged and wet drains in the State before the onset of Monsoons, 2012. He assured the Chief Minister that the detailed projects relating to Flood protection works on River Ravi and Sutlej amounting to Rs. 13461.00 lac and Rs. 7750.00 lac respectively Under Boarder areas scheme would be submitted to GoI within 15 days. Besides, flood protection works sanctioned under NABARD RIDF-XVII amounting to Rs. 7973.88 lac were being taken up in hand at site immediately.
Prominent among others who attended the meeting included Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Chief Secretary Mr. Rakesh Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, Principal Secretary Irrigation Mr. KBS Sindhu, Principal Secretary Finance Mr. Satish Chandra, Technical Advisor to Punjab Govt. Lt. Gen.(Retd.) BS Dhaliwal, besides Mr. KJS Cheema and Mr. KS Pannu both Special Principal Secretaries to Chief Minister.