With paddy growing season round the corner, farmers in the Kangan area of Ganderbal district are running since many months from pillar to post to get irrigation facilities for their paddy land.
The farmers from Kangan said that the Irrigation Department has failed to restore water in a local and major irrigation canal, Baba canal, that has caused panic among the farming community.
Farmers of Haripora, Manigam, Yarmuqam, Benhama,Wussan ,Chattergul and other areas said that they are facing shortage of water for irrigation due to which their land has become barren. He added that people living in these villages depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihood.
“Hundreds of kanals of paddy fields have turned barren and we are on the verge of starvation as the water in the irrigation canal is yet to be restored by the department,” farmers said.
They said that time they called upon the officers of Irrigation Department several times, who gave them repeated assurances that the water in the canal would be restored soon but nothing has changed on ground.
They said that since time had come for planting paddy saplings in the fields, lack of irrigation facility has put them in a fix. “It is impossible to cultivate rice without availability of proper and assured irrigation”, they said.
“We are on the verge of starvation as the area is mostly dependent on rice crop. We will now have to buy the rice from market,” they added.
Meanwhile, senior National Conference leader and MLA Kangan Mian Altaf Ahmed flayed the Irrigation Department for ‘failing’ to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers in several villages of Kangan constituency.
He said that the issue was raised in the last District Development Board meeting, however, nothing substantial has been done in this regard to improve and restore irrigation canals.
He urged the Irrigation Department to immediately restore the irrigation canals in the area so that people don’t face any hardships.