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Farmers’ Dharna against Land Destroying Punpun Canal Project

Farmers affected by the useless, impractical, and agricultural land-destroying Punpun branch canal project staged a dharna at the Masaurhi sub-divisional office under the leadership of the All India Kisan Mahasabha on 24 March 2017 and submitted a memorandum with their demands to the Chief Minister through the Sub-Divisional Officer. The Masaurhi sub-divisional officer held talks with the farmers on the 9-point charter of demands and promised to send their memorandum to the Chief Minister.

The following demands were mainly raised during the dharna: withdrawal of the useless and destructive Punpun branch canal project and instead constructing dams on the Punpun at Tiskhora and the Dargha at Berra to make irrigation arrangements according to traditional aahar-payin (ponds and reservoirs) system; rejuvenating all government hand pumps; electrification of private hand pumps and free electricity; setting up farm-produce based industries; adequate number of cold-storage units for farm produce and proper storage for onions; farm yards for sale and purchase of farm produce on the panchayat level; government support price and bonus for all produce of farmers; subsidized fertilizers, seeds and other farm requirements at government shops similar to ration shops.

The dharna was addressed by Kisan Mahasabha State Secretary Com. Umesh Singh and other leaders. The speakers said that farmers have to bear the brunt of government attacks along with natural calamities. The Nitish government’s tall promises since 2005 have all proved hollow. There has been no green revolution and no arrangements for irrigation. 9333 out of 10124 hand pumps in the State are lying derelict. Adequate electrification is seriously lacking. To cap it all, they want to takeout 274 ft wide canal from the Punpun to destroy ourlands, or maybe to grab our lands for their own purposes. The proposed canal is 28 km long from Hamid Nagar in Aurangabad; why then does the government want to acquire lands in Paliganj, Masaurhi and Punpun blocks in the name of this project? The farmers said that they would protest very strongly against this landloot which is a clear violation of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act. Comrades Janak Dev Singh, Arvind Singh, Geeta Devi, Shyam Narayan Singh, Satyanarayan Verma, Vishweshwar Yadav, Sachidanand Yadav and other farmers also addressed the dharna.

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