Farmers face jail for stealing water in Bundelkhand

Farmers face jail for stealing water in Bundelkhand

Police, officials step up vigil to prevent water theft

Peak summer has barely begun but farmers in parched Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh have already started facing acute water shortage. They have been forced to steal precious water to irrigate their crop.

Authorities have also stepped up vigil to prevent water theft in the region, and police have filed cases against several farmers for stealing water.

On Saturday, police filed an FIR against 12 farmers who illegally drew water from Urmil dam in Bundelkhand’s Mahoba district on Madhya Pradesh border.

“They took water from pipes that supply from the dam to different areas in the district,” said an official of government-owned Jal Nigam.

Search is on

Police are also searching for more farmers in six villages who are named in the FIR. 

The Jal Nigam official said underground water level in Bundelkhand region has dropped sharply. 

“Ponds and wells here have dried up and hand-pumps have stopped working due to the fall in water level. But summer has only begun. It is a worrying sign,” the official said. “Things will get worse in the days to come.”

Incidents of water theft are common in Bundelkhand in summer. Sometimes, farmers clash with officials when the latter try to stop them from stealing.

“Every drop is precious,” another official said. 

He said they are finding it hard to map the entire stretch of pipelines in the district, which is hampering anti-theft operations.

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