According to a report in Indian Express, the Department of Soil and Water Conservation of the Agriculture Ministry in Punjab which reports to CM Amarinder Singh is building a dam at Siswan village in SAS Nagar district to divert the flood water which would have flown into the property owned by the Chief Minister.
A farmhouse is being built on land owned by Amarinder Singh at the foothills of Shivalik Hills outside Chandigarh. He had bought the property measuring approximately 7 acres in January this year. The check dam is allegedly being built to prevent the flow of a seasonal rivulet into the property of the Chief Minister. During Monsoon seasons rainwater from nearby rivulets reportedly partially floods the area where the farmhouse stands.
The construction of the dam reportedly began this year alongside the construction of the farmhouse after a resolution was passed by the Village Panchayat asking the government for a dam claiming that the water flowing downhill was flooding their fields. As per the report, the village Panchayat never felt the requirement of the dam earlier.
However, CM’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral reportedly dismissed any conflict of interest and said that the dam was being built on a resolution passed by the Sarpanch of the village and that it was not CM’s personal project. He said, “This is not the first such dam is being constructed in the area. The Department of Soil and Water Conservation, Punjab, has constructed many earthen/ stone masonry check dams in District Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar in the past 15 years. These dams have been constructed as and when the local villagers have complained that the seasonal rivulets have been flooding their fields, causing soil erosion”.
The dam which was earlier being constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), is now being funded under NABARD-Rural Infrastructure Development Fund-17 after the Chief Soil Conservator sanctioned funds. As per the records of the Soil and Water Conservation Department, the dam is categorised as a water harvesting/recharging structure and has an approved cost of Rs 15,20,800. The IE report claims that records show that the project was given a sanction in July 2018 but the initial movement in this regard began six months before that.
As claimed by Indian Express, the resolution was passed by the Panchayat on June 2, 2018, contrary to claims of the Sarpanch who said that it was passed six months ago.
Chief Conservator of Soils, Dharminder Sharma called the construction of the dam alongside the construction of the CM’s farmhouse a coincidence.