Bihar Farmers Fight for Repair of Irrigation Canals

Gaya, 5 May 2023.

Uttar Koel Nahar Sangharsh Morcha has been on a sit-in protest since 18 April for their demand of cleaning of the canal which has acquired silt because of lack of maintenance by the respective authorities.

The All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) and Uttar Koel Nahar Sangharsh Morcha held a demonstration on 5 May in Gaya and asked the administration to fulfil the demands of farmers’ agitation which is continuing for many months. The government has backtracked on its promises and the administrative apathy continues in spite of consistent struggle and demands of the local population. These canals have been a major source of irrigation in many parts of Bihar for nearly 150 years but now pro-corporate central planning in agriculture has neglected their maintenance for many decades leaving farmers in greater distress.

The farmers have been holding a sit-in protest at the Uttar Koel Canal near Surondha village in Madanpur of Aurangabad since 18 April. They have informed the Irrigation Department as well as state and central governments of their demand, but no response is received yet. This is increasing anxiety among already distressed farming communities in this region. They are now thinking of repairing the canal system which is a lifeline for them, by themselves through collective and community participation, by doing Shramdaan. Anyway, the protest sit-in will continue till the canals are cleaned and water reaches their fields.

In the particular stretch of canal the cleaning of silt will benefit thousands of farmers in nearby Aamas, Gurua, Guraru, Konch, Tikaari and Paraiya blocks. This stretch extends up to 10-15 kilometres and is not a difficult or expensive task hence quite achievable, but it is the governmental apathy that's affecting the lives of so many people.

The protest demonstration marched from the district headquarters to the Tower Chowk on 5 May and was led by CPIML district secretary Niranjan Kumar. A team of CPIML will soon visit the farmers sitting at Surondha village to express solidarity and support.