TOBA TEK SINGH: Dozens of farmers from chaks 148-GB, 149-GB, 150-GB, 151-GB, 152-GB and 153-GB met the district coordination officer on Wednesday and complained about massive sand lifting from the Gogera canal for construction purposes.

They said the digging had turned the bed uneven due to which the water flow would be affected.

The delegation consisted of Lumberdar Rana Iftikhar, advocate Chaudhry Amin, Tahir Gujjar, Mustafa Jat, Lumberdar Wahid Khan and Rana Arshad. They told reporters the people were lifting sand in dozens of trolleys every day.

They demanded action against the sand mining.

Irrigation Employees Power Union (CBA) Chairman Allah Bakhsh Sial told reporters that people were also taking away sand in trucks and trolleys from the Jhang branch canal and when irrigation department employees stopped them, the truck and trolley owners tortured them.

He said though irrigation officials wrote for cases, policemen took no action against the thieves.

He said the drivers had weakened canal embankments by making entrance of their vehicles into canals and they feared whenever the water supply was restored in February, it would cause breaches.

The delegation’s efforts paid off a bit as canal magistrate Rana Muhammad Farooq raided a spot on the canal in the Gojra area and caught red-handed Siddiq, of Chak 297-JB, and Salamat Masih, of Chak 354-JB, with sand-loaded tractor-trolleys. Both Siddiq and and Salamat and their vehicles were handed over to the Gojra city police.

An official said dozens of thieves managed to escape with their vehicles.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2015

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