HC issues notices to Gujarat minister over water theft
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued notices to state agriculture minister Babu Bokhiriya and other respondents named in a PIL seeking investigation into alleged water theft racket in Porbandar.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice VM Sahay and justice JB Pardiwala issued notices to 17 respondents in the PIL, which alleged "illegal water trading" in Porbandar city by the close aides of Bokhiriya. The BJP minister is the MLA from Porbandar.
Next hearing has been fixed in the first week of June.
The petitioners, Meldabhai Ranavaya and two others who hail from the port city, have claimed "people who are distant relatives and workers of the agriculture minister have resorted to illegal trading of water. They draw water from public distribution pipelines and sell it at a higher price".
The public suit has demanded investigation and action against those involved in water theft.
"Even though complaints were made to the local police and district administration, no action has been taken in the matter," the petition said and demanded setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The petitioners claimed Porbandar, which has a population of about 1.52 lakh, requires 22 MLD (million litre per day) but it is being supplied only 3-4 MLD.
"At a time when the whole region is reeling under water shortage, people enjoying political protection from the minister are resorting to illegal trading of water."
Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhvadia, who lost to Bokhiriya in December 2012 Assembly elections, had led a demonstration against the water theft racket in Porbandar last week.