Odisha farmers demand irrigation tax waiver

Although the farmers had been paying tax for irrigation, water is yet to reach their land from the Gangadhar canal which was constructed over 30 years back.
Farmers at the collector’s office on Friday
Farmers at the collector’s office on Friday Photo | Express

BARIPADA: Farmers of Anantasahi and Ghantasila villages under Gopabandhunagar block of Mayurbhanj district met collector Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde on Friday urging him to waive the irrigation tax imposed on them.

Dharamraj Hansdah, who led the farmers’ delegation said they urged the collector to waive the tax as water from the Gangadhar canal does not reach their land. Although the farmers had been paying tax for irrigation, water is yet to reach their land from the canal which was constructed over 30 years back.

The canal, maintained by minor irrigation department, carries water from the Gangadhar river to farmland in the block. However, owing to faulty design and technical issues, the canal has failed to serve its purpose. The farmers said they paid the tax to the Revenue department for a few years and stopped doing so. Over the years, the tax amount has multiplied.

The farmers’ woes do not end here. Recently, when some of them applied for certificates pertaining to residence, caste, income and others, the revenue inspector did not approve them. “We have been facing problems in getting the certificates as revenue and tehsil officials said it would not be possible for them to issue the documents as we had not paid the irrigation tax,” said the farmers. They urged the collector to waive the tax and instruct officials concerned to issue the certificates which are needed for various purposes including higher studies of their children.

They said the collector assured to direct officials concerned to conduct a joint inquiry by Revenue and Irrigation departments and further steps will be taken accordingly.

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