Ahmedabad: The Congress organised a farmers' rally against The Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Act 2013 on Tuesday in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. After the rally Congress leaders tried to march towards the Gujarat Assembly but were stopped by police and taken into custody which led to a huge uproar and pandemonium.
According to the Act, a farmer in Gujarat cannot draw water from his own field with the state government's permission. There is massive anger among the farmers against the new Act and they have been protesting against it.
Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhvadia said the state government has taken away everything from the farmers by making such a law. "They first took away land rights, and now even the water cannot be used with permission," said Modhvadia and accused the state government of only catering to the demands of the industrialists.
Declaring that Congress workers would defy the Act, Modhvadia said that the Congress would campaign against it in every village of the state and involve every farmer in the agitation. However, in the rally there were more Congress workers than farmers.
The Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Act 2013 has become a major issue in the state. According to the Act a farmer cannot install a borewell in his fields without the government's permission. The farmers will also need a licence to draw water from canals and the amount of water that can be used by a farmer will be decided by government officials. Even the price of water used in the fields for irrigation will be fixed and government officials have been empowered to file cases against farmers who break the law. The farmers will also have to declare the details about well and ponds in their fields.
The Opposition has been calling it a black legislation from the British era and using it to target the Narendra Modi government. The state government has till now refused to speak on the new law even as the Congress has been trying to use it to garner farmers' support.