I&FC ‘negligence’ leaves orchardists high and dry

I&FC ‘negligence’ leaves orchardists high and dry

Bandipora: Residents of several villages in Bandipora have alleged that the “negligence” of Irrigation and Flood Control department to effectively plug breaches in Reshi Nallah and Dahgam Nallha has wreaked havoc to orchards and houses in the area.
Residents say that while flash floods have damaged orchards and houses in villages like Onagam, Quil and Muqam, they have been running from pillar to post in the district administration.
The problem, according to them, started with a breach in the Reshi Nallah and Dahgam Nallha in April this year, after torrential rains for several days. The flash floods triggered by the breach eroded soil and affected the quality of soil necessary for the growth of apples, an orchardist said. Not only that, many houses were also submerged, a resident from Onagam said.
“After many requests, the department of Irrigation and Flood Control came with assurances that ‘it will check the breach and immediately start walling of the rivulets’, but only a handful of mud bags were installed only to give the impression that department was concerned,” Jalil-ud-din Wani, a local resident said.
The claims of I&FC were exposed, by recent flash floods this month, when the rivulets again breached and damaged the apple orchards again.
“The administration kept watching as mute spectators, just promising action and compensation” an apple grower from the village rued.
The data collected in its preliminary report by the horticulture department shows at least 10 to 15 growers were affected in the village Onagam and Quil only.
Chief Horticulture Officer Bandipora Javid Ahmad said,
while some 100 to 150 tress were damaged according to the initial report, the flood was enough to damage the tree growth as it had eroded the soil.
“Our first concern was to save trees, and we asked the orchardists to follow some immediate techniques to help save trees, which in some way helped, but we fear many trees would be damaged,” he said.
The department says it filed the preliminary report with deputy commissioner and has asked for compensation to the orchardists, while the revenue department was also working on their report.
The horticulture officials agree that the Irrigation and Flood Control authorities were to blame for the damage. Kashmir Reader tried to contact Executive Engineer PHE (Hydraulic) Bandipora Ghulam Ahmad Bhat who has an additional charge of Irrigation and Flood Control, but the officer was unavailable for comments, given his “busy schedule”.
The residents, however, said that the administration was playing hide and seek and only consuming time by “providing fake promises”. The work tenders for the walling of the rivulets have not even come out, forget the compensation, they complained.


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