Sirhind Feeder; breach of canal or breach of trust?

Erosion in Sirhind Canal also damages the Indira Gandhi Canal that was being re-constructed. Tribune photo

Sri Mukatsar Sahib ( P2P): The Irrigation Department of Punjab is becoming a challenge against the zero-tolerance policy of the state government against corruption. The matter is again about the disputed Sirhind feeder breach of 250 feet from the same place twice. In the relining of the canal, as per the written agreement of the ‘defect liability of five years was only of the contractor concerned and during this time the contractor was responsible for any damage, but the officials of the department, without holding any official meeting, have once again taken a big step on plugging of the breached

canal. The expenditure has been put on the government, while the disputed contractors have been given a clean chit. The issue has been raised before the Government.

In December 2021, the fourth phase of the reconstruction of this canal was completed in April 2022 this canal broke down near  Thadewala village of district Sri Muktsar Sahib. This canal was again breached at the same place on May 10. An inquiry committee of the department was constituted for why the canal was breached again from the same place. Meanwhile, the work of repairing was again given to the contractor. According to the rules, the responsibility for any damage in the canal for five years lies with the contractor concerned.

The reason for breaching of Canal is yet to be identified, but the work of repair has been given to the contractor who has no experience in relining of Sirhind feeder or Rajasthan feeder.

but in reality, only the officers of the department were doing the work of repair in the name of said contractors. Most of the materials for the repair of the canal were purchased by the officials of the department. Now the construction bills are being prepared. There is also a dispute in the construction of breached

Sirhind feeder. The thickness of the concrete bed is also less than the canal built earlier. A similar situation has been created on the adjacent Indira Gandhi Canal due to the breakdown of the Sirhind feeder. The work of IGNCP was also allotted on fresh cases whereas here also the responsibility was made by the contractor.

The matter was discussed in the Chandigarh office of the department regarding the zero-tolerance policy against corruption by Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, in which concern was expressed that the construction work on the breached canal is in apprehension.

Earlier, last year, the tenders for relining of the third phase of the Sirhind feeder were canceled as some illegible contractors succeeded to enter in the tender process.