Saffron farmers disgruntled with irrigation pipelines

Saffron farmers disgruntled with irrigation pipelines
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Sadam Hussain Pandow

Pulwama: Several farmers in the saffron belt of Pampore are disgruntled with the irrigating pipelines installed in their fields under National Saffron Mission (NSM), which they said were of no use, “except creating” hindrances in tilling.
The pipelines were laid by authorities in the saffron fields of Dussu village of Pampore a year back, but farmers complain that the lines were unable to irrigate the fields.
“There was no water supply, and many farmers removed pipelines from their saffron fields as they create excessive hindrances during tilling of land instead of providing any benefit,” Ghulam Rasool, 75, a farmer said.
Another farmer Mohammad Yusuf said that there were very few bore wells to supply water through pipelines.
“There are very few bore wells in this vast saffron field and each one is supposed to irrigate 100-200 hectare which results in failing to provide adequate irrigation. For better hosing each bore well is capable for only 30-40 hectare,” Yusuf said adding the bore wells failed to provide irrigation during long dry spell leaving “half of seeds dead inside earth”.
Another farmer said the irrigation facility proves fruitful only when water is available round the year.
“Undoubtedly our government is doing a lot to improve the saffron productivity of our area by introducing schemes and facilities but unfortunately the implementation of these schemes remains limited to papers only due the carelessness of some local officials” he said.
The farmers urged the government to complete the pipeline setting in the fields so that everyone can realise its benefit.
Dr Bashir Ahmad of Saffron Research Station Konibal, Pampore told Kashmir Reader that the government was providing many techniques to farmers from time to time for better cultivation of saffron “in which irrigation is one of them particularly in Pulwama district under NSM with the cooperation of Agriculture University and Agriculture department of Kashmir”.
“Wherever this scheme is implemented, farmers have expressed happiness and said the scheme proved very beneficial in increasing saffron production” Dr Bashir said.
“Time is not far when it will help the famers in doubling the yield if the scheme is successful in facilitating timely supply of adequate water,” he said.
He said the project is based on proper research and implemented as per allocation of central government funds.
“If farmers show cooperation with authorities there may be chances to dig more wells at places to ensure irrigation facilities for better production,” he said.
Director of Agriculture, Kashmir, Syed Altaf Aajaz Andrabi, said that installation of irrigation facility under NSM is something new for germination of saffron corms in dry spell, about which farmers are not aware enough. The scheme is scientifically proven beneficial for farming saffron.
He said there was no need to have plenty of water supplies on daily basis as it requires water only during dry spell for germination of saffron corm at initial stage.
He said 128 bore wells were to be dug since 2010 under NSM and the mission is still underway.
Officers also added that some farmers “backed by the land mafia” had been impeding the installation of water pipes.