Pulwama farmers affected by water scarcity demand efficient irrigation facilities

Pulwama, July 24: Farmers in many villages in Pulwama district in South Kashmir which have been affected by water shortage this year have urged authorities to develop efficient irrigation facilities to grow paddy on their farmlands.

Many farmers in Lelhara, Hajibal, Mohanvij, Banderpora and Padgampora told Rising Kashmir that inefficient water supply systems failed to irrigate their rice paddies this year, which prevented them from planting seedlings of paddy over a vast area of ​​prime agricultural land.

The farmers said that their land is supplied by various water pumps charging water from Jhelum.

They added that many pump stations fail to load water from Jhelum due to lower water level during summers.

They added that late rains in June this year caused Jhelum’s water level to drop.

“Due to the irrigation water crisis, a significant number of rice farmers missed the planting season this year,” they said.

Javid Ahmad Lone, a resident of Lelhara, is one such farmer who was unable to plant paddy seedlings on his land this year.

Javid, a father of three, made his living growing paddy.

“I would sell rice and paddy straw and spend that amount on my children’s education,” he said, adding that his livelihood had been badly affected due to the water crisis. irrigation in his region.

He said the sanctioned water bodies for the area have failed to irrigate their land. “The water features were poorly designed to utilize the shallow waters of Jhelum,” he said.

The farmers also said that the draft pumps installed in a few places have too low a capacity to meet the huge area.

The farmers have urged the authorities to develop efficient irrigation facilities for the rice fields in the region so that they do not face such a situation in the future.

The belt from Padgampora to Patal-bagh along a bank of Jhelum is traditionally a paddy-growing region. It is considered as the rice bowl of Pulwama.

Farmers said the land was unsuitable for horticultural activities, including growing apples.

After missing the paddy season this year, Javid said many farmers in Lelhara, Hajibal, Banderpora, Mohanvij and Padgampora have turned to maize cultivation with heavy hearts.

An agricultural officer from the affected area, Agha Syed Mehmood, informed Rising Kashmir that about 1,000 kanal (50 hectares) of land has been affected in Lelhara, Mohanvij, Hajibal and Banderpora due to shortage of irrigation water. .

The Agriculture Department authorities added that they have submitted a compensation proposal to the affected farmers at high levels.

Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Baseer ul Haq Chaudhry, said farmlands in low-lying areas and along the banks of the Jhelum have been affected.

He also said that the land which has been converted from paddy cultivation to apple cultivation is also affected due to the change in the irrigation pattern.

“We have formed a committee which includes officials from engineering, revenue and irrigation departments to provide expert advice on how we can meet the challenge of irrigation in the future,” a- he said, adding that a plan has already been formulated in this regard and he presented the positions to higher courts.

“Work on the plan will start before the new paddy planting season so that maximum irrigation facilities will be provided to farmers,” he said, adding that farmers will also receive a notice indicating which crop is suitable and profitable in a country. particular area.

“We will sustain the staple food crops of our farmers,” Deputy Commissioner Pulwama said.

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