CHIEF MINISTER’S OFFICE, PUNJAB

RIGHT OF WAY FOR LAYING UNDERGROUND IRRIGATION PIPELINES GETS PUNJAB CABINET APPROVAL

Chandigarh, October 16:
To enable farmers to lay underground irrigation pipelines through land of other holders, the Punjab Cabinet on Monday okayed an amendment to the existing law to grant `Right of Way’.

The Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, approved the incorporation of a new Section 14-A in Chapter III as an amendment in Punjab Land Improvement Schemes Act 1963 (Act no.23 of 1963).

Giving details, an official spokesperson said the amendment would give the ‘Right of Way’ to the Soil and Water Conservation Department and the farmers against payment, as per prevailing market rates, of compensation on account of crop damage or damage to any structure.

The move will enable the department or the concerned farmers to lay underground irrigation pipelines in other land holders’ land at a depth of 3 feet beneath the surface of land as per demarcated line.

The amendment was necessitated by the fact that land holders or entities/agencies holding land often do not allow the underground pipeline to pass through their land, thus depriving the farmer, with land located on the other side, of the much-needed irrigation facilities. Farmers with a single source of irrigation and fragmented agricultural land holdings were the worst affected due to the existing lacunae in the law. Absence of legal rights on this count was also holding up several government-funded projects.

To ensure implementation of the scheme, a district level committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner and comprising representatives from Revenue, Agriculture, Forest, Public Works and Soil Conservation Departments would be formed. The proposed committee would be entrusted with the task of determining the amount of compensation to be paid to the land holder.

It may be noted that laying of underground pipelines for irrigation is the most effective way for efficient use of water resources in the state and the State Soil and Water Conservation department is already promoting this activity in a big way. The Rajasthan government had, in 2010, also incorporated a similar amendment in the Rajasthan Land Tenancy Act.