Ahmedabad: Opposition Congress on Friday requested Governor not to give assent to the Irrigation and Drainage Bill 2013, passed recently by the state Assembly, terming it anti-farmers.
A delegation of about 40 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela, met Governor Dr Kamla Beniwal, and requested her to send the bill back to the Assembly.
A memorandum submitted to the Governor, signed by Vaghela, says the legislation was much worse than the British-era law.
Assembly passed, amid protests from the opposition benches, the Irrigation and Drainage Bill 2013 on February 26.
It prescribes stringent provisions such as requirement of licence to draw underground water exceeding certain depths and penal action against farmers who violate the law.
The bill proposes appointment of canal officers with the rank of additional assistant engineer or above, who would have wide powers, including the power to detain those who violate the law.
The bill, which makes it mandatory for farmers to apply for a licence from the canal officer if he wants to construct a tubewell or borewell or an artesian well exceeding the depth prescribed by the government.
Congress leaders have alleged that the bill gives arbitrary powers to canal officer, which could be used for political purposes, or to harass the farmers.