JAIPUR: A special police station for preventing water theft may sound unusual but it's turning into a reality.
Rajasthan government is opening a unique police station in Hanumangarh district which is an attempt to prevent any theft of irrigated water that flows through the Indira Gandhi canal running in the area. It will cover over 200 villages of Nohar and Bhadra assembly constituencies of the district.
For the first time in the state, the government has opened police stations to protect water. A staff of 60 policemen will take immediate action on the incidents of water thefts that have become rampant in the area.
During the last few days, 12 new police stations were sanctioned in the state and this unique police station is one of them. Joint Secretary (Home) Ramniwas Mehta has given administrative and financial nod for opening a new police station and creating new posts.
In the last four years, 74 cases of water theft have been registered in Hanumangarh district itself. Of these, maximum 28 cases have been registered in Bhirani police station.
Police says that due to lack of 'chakbandi' (official documentation of division of land) in the area there is laxity in water transporting system and hence, its theft is very common and many farmers who are at the tail-end are often denied any water while those at the start of the canal often tend to take much more water than they deserve.
Police sources say that for stealing water, long pipe is inserted into the canal and water is taken into the field. There are siphons around the canal trunk and the main canal. Some farmers water their fields by withholding e water . Due to this, other farmers do not get full water.
Addl SP (Hanumangarh) Jassaram Bose says that the theft incidents are more in Nohar and Bhadra Vidhansabha areas as there is no 'chakbandi'. "There are few people from Haryana who steal water which leads to water shortage in the tail areas here. People who are caught stealing water are registered under IPC 397. Last time we had to deploy a lot of police force during peak time even in the winters to make sure water reaches the tail areas also," he said.
Nohar MLA Amit Chachan says "Here influential and dominating farmers take water to their fields. In such a situation, many common farmers do not get water."
Amit also said that this will be a CI-headed police station where 5 sub-inspectors, 8 head constables and 40 constables will be deployed. "We feel that the opening of these police stations will definitely curb the incidents of theft and the farmers at the tail end will be able to receive adequate water," Chachan said.
Indira Gandhi canal is the longest canal of India. Around 650 km long, it starts from Harike Barrage in Punjab and terminates in irrigation facilities at the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. The canal traverses seven districts of Rajasthan which includes Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer , Jodhpur and Sriganganagar.
Most incidents of water theft have been reported from Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts. In such a situation, the number of such police stations will increase in the future. The Canal Department also wants the police to be stationed at a certain distance from the canals.