February 25, 2012 admin

The Draft National Water Policy is a design to control water resources and throw them open to the market-Experts

Chandigarh, Feb 25—Experts on water resources, academicians and leaders of various political parties and concerned Punjabis gathered at a seminar here today expressed a strong concern over the Central government’s fresh initiative to enact a new legislation for taking control of the river and ground waters- hitherto a state subject- and thereafter throwing open the waters to the market and corporate control. The central government has circulated a draft National Water Policy to the states and has sought their views to be reached to the Central Water Resources Ministry by end of this month, February 29.
Speaking at the seminar jointly organized by the Bharati Kisan Union (Siddhupur) and Internationalist Democratic Party (IDP) at Kisan Bhawan , former Punjab Irrigation  Chief Engineer, Mr G.S  Dhillon  said  water for irrigation to the tune of 70 per cent in Punjab is being done by drawing ground water through 14 lakh tube wells sunk by the farmers themselves. But the proposed Water Policy is intented to impose an official  control on the use of ground waters and if installing of the new tube wells would be allowed only after an official permission.
Another expert, Pritam Singh Kumedaan, a former Punjab bureaucrat said the centre had already robbed Punjab of its river waters through fraudulent agreements and official dictates. And the new proposed Policy would further erode Punjab’s control on river waters which had already been diluted through the Water Dispute Amendment Act of 2002.
Participating in the seminar, senior journalist Hamir Singh said the proposed Water Policy would further weaken the Indian federal set up and would lead to the more centralization of powers reducing the states’ to mere municipal committees in essence. The Policy is also aimed to throwing open the waters to the control of corporate and multinational companies, he added.
A majority of speakers favored the rejection of the draft Water Policy out rightly and Prof Manjit Singh suggested the formation a Peoples Water Commission to document the snatching of water resources from the states by the centre.
Rounding up the discussion, BKU President Mr. Pishaura Singh Sidhupur regretted that political leadership of Punjab has failed to protect the state’s water resources from the plundering by the center and adjoining states. More than the half of the Punjab river waters had been taken away by a non-riparian state of Rajasthan without paying a single penny as royalty.
Apart from others All India Kissan Sabha leader Bhupinder Singh Sanmber, senior journalist Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Omender Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission and Sukhdarshan Nutt also spoke at the Seminar.

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