We are being punished for not voting: farmers
ANANTNAG: Thousands of kanals of paddy fields in Kakapora area of Pulwama district have been left without any irrigation at the most crucial time of the farming cycle-days after the plantation has been carried out.
The Kakapora Lift Irrigation system has been unable to pump water for the last two days as water levels in rivers plunged by several feet, leaving the paddy fields spread over four to five thousand kanals in Sethar Gund, Laribal, Kakapora, Naaman and Qazigund villages without a drop of water, much to the horror of the farmers.
The farmers lament that this has been the pattern in their area for over three years now.
“The lift irrigation system goes defunct because of low water levels in the river and we are left with no water whatsoever for our farmland,” Feroz Ahmad Bhat, a local farmer told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the last few years their crop was saved by timely rain, “but this year the catastrophe seems to be ready to hit with no signs of rain visible,”
The farmers told Kashmir Reader that they have been time and again asking the concerned authorities to provide them with “drought pumps”.
“But for reasons better known to authorities such pumps, which help when the water levels go low, have not been provided to farmers of Kakapora belt,” another farmer Abdul Rasheed Ganai said.
He said that the farmers in villages like Samboora, Patalbagh, Hatiwara and some others in Pampore area have been issued such pumps by the irrigation department.
“The reason for our neglect is simple. We do not vote and we are being punished and politely told to go to hell,” the farmers told Kashmir Reader.
This season as the water levels have gone down again the farmers in Kakapora have again reached the concerned authorities but have been told that there were no funds to provide them the “drought pumps”
The local farmers, now on the edge, have threatened that they will start agitating if immediate steps were not taken to mend the position.
“We are growing restless every passing minute. The authorities should take immediate steps or we would be on the roads protesting,” the farmers threatened.
They said that they did not hit the roads today because it was Shab-e-Qadr and blocking roads would have caused inconvenience to the general public.
“But tomorrow we will have no option but to come to the roads,” the farmers said.
The local civil administrators have directed mechanical division to arrange a drought pump to bring some relief to the farmers of the area.
“The water levels have gone down by a major 5 to 6 feet in the last two, three days. The Deputy Commissioner (DC) has asked mechanical division to use a drought pump,” Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) Irrigation division Kakapora, Muhammad Yousuf, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the drought pump will not entirely help, “Let’s pray for a timely rain,”
MLA Pampore and Minister for Irrigation and Flood Control, Zahoor Ahmad Mir, could not be reached to comment despite repeated attempts.