Shortage of irrigation water worries Kupwara farmers
Author ABRAR BHAT - Monday, 10 06 2013 10:20
Kupwara, June 09: Paddy fields in Kupwara and Handwara towns are facing shortage of irrigation water.
Expressing concerns, farmers said that growth of paddy crop could be affected due to shortage of water in major streams. These days paddy transplantation is on throughout Kashmir and is expected to last till mid-June.
Water in major streams including Lal Kul, Chakwari, Daagam, Pohru, Mawar and Rajwar streams has receded over the past one week, said farmers.
“The shortage of water will badly affect the growth of paddy crop in coming few weeks. The department is doing nothing to increase the flow of water in irrigation streams of the district,” said Mohammad Muzzafar, a farmer from Mawar Handwara.
Some other farmers alleged that for past few years the Irrigation department has not de-weeded or de-silted the irrigation canals and streams leading to the decline of water level. Thousands of kanals of paddy fields depend on these canals for irrigation water in the district.
“Hot summer season is on and the water level in streams is receding with each passing day. Cleaning of these water-bodies is necessary to increase the flow of water and ensure adequate supply of irrigation water to the fields,” said Mohammad Jamal, a farmer from Chowkibal, 25 kms from Kupwara.
The farmers said that lifeline of thousands of kanals of paddy crop, the canals have been ignored by the Irrigation department.
A delegation of farmers from Trehgam said that the plantation of paddy crop may be delayed due to the shortage of irrigation water. “Shortage of irrigation water could lead to delay in plantation of paddy and affect its growth in coming weeks. We make a sincere appeal to the department to take measures to increase the flow of water in streams,” said Mohammad Afzal, a farmer from Ticker.
Residents of Gulgam near Kupwara demanded cleaning of Chakwari stream for increased flow of its waters. They said that the stream, which is the only source of irrigation water to thousands of kanals, has not been cleaned of weeds.
“There will be severe shortage of irrigation water in future if the stream was not cleaned of weeds. Paddy is the main source of our sustenance and the Irrigation department has miserably failed to take care of streams,” said Nazir Ahmad.
Residents of Drugmulla also demanded cleaning of a stream flowing through Drugmulla and Kandi areas. More than 90 percent of people cultivate paddy crop as their mainstay in north Kashmir.
Executive Engineer, Irrigation Division Handwara, Mohammad Ashraf Sheikh said, “In Rajwar area alone eight irrigation tanks have been kept reserved for supplying irrigation water to the fields in times of need. Farmers need not to worry, we are effectively monitoring the water level and irrigation water would be ensured when the need arises.”