BAHAWALPUR - Canal Division Executive Engineer Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem has said that the police were not taking an action against canal water thieves allegedly because political pressure.

He said that during the crop (Khareef) season 2012, the Irrigation Department sent 2,792 cases of water theft to the police but only 179 cases were registered and 213 water thieves were arrested.

He said that Rs106.242million fine was imposed on water thieves during the crop (khareef) by the Irrigation Department in 202 new cases and 418 old cases. He disclosed that 178 cases were sent to the police in October but the police registered only one case and one person was arrested.

He further said that the department has also informed the DPO in written about the situation. Criticizing the police officials, he said that whenever the department asked the police about the action against the water thieves, the police responded that delay in registration of cases and arrests was due to the directions from higher authorities and the pressure of the assembly members because elections were just around the corner.

He noted that to eliminate the water theft Chief Secretary had formed a committee consisted on Irrigation department's SDO, DSP and Assistant Commissioner of each Tehsil. These teams had to raid against water thieves and take action against them but police did not support.