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Push to water cess

Calcutta, Nov. 25: The cess farmers pay for the water they draw from reservoirs will go up if the government gives in to pressure from the irrigation department.

Irrigation minister Amalendra Roy said at Writers’ Buildings today the existing rates per acre-feet of water taken by farmers were fixed in 1964 and they needed to be revised. The government charges Rs 15 per acre-feet of water for kharif crop, Rs 20 for rabi and Rs 50 for boro. “The Planning Commission is repeatedly telling us to increase the tax for irrigation water. We realise that the cess will have to be hiked to mobilise resources,” said Roy.

In the state, farmers use about 12.25 lakh acre-feet of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation, Kangshabati and Mayurakshi reservoirs. However, sections in the government ruled out any immediate revision in the rates with the panchayat polls round the corner.

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