Lahore - The Punjab government suspended a number of the irrigation officials on the charges of conniving with water thieves in the Bahawalnagar Canal Circle (BCC).

The department also started disciplinary proceedings against them under PEEDA Act 2006. However, some of them got stay order from the Punjab Service Tribunal (PST).

The suspended official include Hakra Canal Division XEN Muhammad Arif, SDO Haroonabad Muhammad Saleem, Sub-engineer Jourkanwala Hamid Mehmood, ex-sub engineer Fortabbas Muhammad Tahir. Moreover, on Fordwah division, XEN Bahawalnagar Rashid Ali, SDO Minchinabad Naeem ul Haq, SDO Chishtian, sub engineer Chabiana Ramzan Iqbal, sub engineer Amruka Israr Aslam, Sub engineer Chishtian Mujahid, Takhat Mahal ex-sub engineer Majid Shah, Jalwala sub engineer Khawar Shah were also suspended. Moreover, on Sadqia Canal Division SDO Naeem ul Hasnain, Sirajwah Sub Engr Abdul Razzaq, Jalwala Sub Engineer Mustafa Joya, Madhranwala Sub engineer Ali Akbar was also suspended.

XEN Hakra division Muhammad Arif and SDO Haroonabad Muhammad Saleem got stay orders from the Punjab Services Tribunal against the departmental action and started working on their positions.

Following 2200 water theft cases alone at Bahawalnagar Canal Circle (BCC) channels during the Kharif season, the irrigation secretary took the action.

Irrigation Minister Mohsin Leghari claimed that the department had started a campaign against the water thieves. Irrigation Secretary Ali Murtaza also pledged to curb crime.

A team under the Director of PMIU was constituted for checking of water theft in the BCC. The team, comprising Deputy Director Calibration, ADM Lahore, ADM BWP & RYK Circles, ADM MZG Circle, ADM Derajat Circle, and ADM BWN Circle, inspected the channels of the BWN Canal circles. It found huge water theft in each division.

As per their report, in Fordwah division, 277 outlets were found tampered, 602 other water theft cases surfaced. In Hakra division, 32 outlets were found tampered and 82 other water theft cases were reported. In Sadqia division, 69 outlets were found tampered and 133 water theft cases were found.

On Saarho distributor four outlets were found tampered, 37 unauthorized running fixed pipe outlets were found, 6 unauthorized running cuts, three anti type outlets were found, 14 unauthorized freshly closed cuts, three freshly closed fixed pipe outlets, three freshly removed fixed pipe outlets and one freshly closed takki were found.

On Dona Disty, 44 water theft offenses were found, on Noshera Disty 42 cases were found, on Macleod Gunj Branch 47 cases, Upper Bair Disty 32 cases, Chabiana Minor 29 cases, Mureed Disty 15 cases, Fateh Garh Disty 5 cases, Bahawal Disty 18 cases, Khalsana distry 29 cases, Darbari Disty 25, Habibka Minor 34, Behkanwali  6 cases, Sadiq Ford Feeder 13, Lower Bair 87 cases, Sohail 40 , Dhuddi 29 cases, New Syed Wala Disty 73, Doulat Disty 71 cases, Billuka minor 22, 4 L Disty 8, Mohar 16, Khemgirh 10, Jageer ditsy 11, Sher Fareed Disty 38, Masood Disty 10, Azeem 45.

In Sadqia canal division, on Girdhariwala 6 cases, Malik 8, Bholewal 10, Jalwala 39, Yarwah 34, Sirajwah 44, Bair II Minor 13, Fateh 32, New Dhani Minor 14.

In Hakra Canal division, On 3R Disty 16 cases, 1 R and 3R 20 cases, 1L and 3R 20, 1 L and Three R 5, Hakra right Disty 66, 2 L and KR Minor 12.

It is to be noted that as many as 2199 water theft cases were found when the PMIU staff checked the channels of the BCC during Kharif 2018 (July and August). As per the division-wise summary, in Fordwah division total 1232 cases through 43 reports were found that include 329 tampered, 903 other water theft offenses. In Hakra division, 29 reports were made showing 131 tampered cases, 317 other water theft offenses and in Sadqia division 32 reports were generated that noted 233 tampered outlets and 286 other type of thefts from the water channels.