Amid looming drought-like situation, Pulwama parts start paddy plantation

Amid looming drought-like situation, Pulwama parts start paddy plantation
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Experts believe 60% of cultivable land in the belt to be dought-hit

PULWAMA: Amid fear of drought, with the hope of rains, farmers in Kakpora belt of South Kashmi’s Pulwama district have started paddy plantation.

The plantation of paddy in this south Kashmir area began early this season but the farmers are apprehensive that their crop may fail due to the scarcity of irrigation water in the area. This year, according to environmental experts, there was 50 percent less snow as compared to other years which according to them would adversely affect the agriculture sector. In the month of March, government had issued advisory in north Kashmir areas not to plant paddy this year but no such advisory was issued for Pulwama.

Abdul Hameed Bhat, a resident of Kakpora area told that they were facing water scarcity but despite that they planted paddy with the hope that there may be sufficient rains in future. “You can see the land is dry and if this dry spell continued our crops will expire in a couple of weeks or so,” he said.

The famers in the area are sad due to the non-availability of water for irrigation purposes. “I planted paddy on 20 kanals of land and for me this land is the only source of income by which I even have to endure education and two time meals for my children and family,” said Riyaz who seemed very sad due to the prevailing drought-like conditions in the area.

Another farmer said that the stream irrigating their farms is running short of water and can cater to around 5000 kanals of paddy land which according to him is nothing before the area of land which is under paddy cultivation. “Our survival is wholly and solely dependent on paddy cultivation but nobody is listening to us,” said Gul Muhammad Beig, a farmer, adding that “government didn’t issue any advisory to them”.

An official from irrigation department said that there was no need for issuing advisory since the water level was good in the area. “There were good rainfalls in last month so, we found it good to not issue any such advisory,” he said.

Officials from agriculture department in Pulwama told Kashmir Reader that they have informed government that there would be 60 percent drought in the district. “Due to the recent rains, we found it good to not to stop people from planting paddy because they were directly dependent on it for their survival,” they said.

The farmers from the area alleged that the officials of irrigation department were unaware about the ground realities.

A group of farmers from Kakpora area said that they requested the authorities several times to bring the area under lift irrigation scheme but their response was always negative. “We have pleaded before authorities for bringing Kakapora belt under lift irrigation scheme so that it can be used for irrigation during crisis period,” the villagers said.

Former chief agriculture officer Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad told Kashmir Reader that they have informed government that there would be drought for 60 percent of land which comes under paddy cultivation.

Chief Agriculture officer Pulwama, Muhammad Yousuf Shah didn’t reply to repeated calls and messages from this reporter.