Govt failure to repair, desilt canals hits farmers: Bhalla

Congress leader Raman Bhalla interacting with farmers on Tuesday.
Congress leader Raman Bhalla interacting with farmers on Tuesday.

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 25: Fed up with the false promises of concerned authorities to repair the damaged irrigation canal before upcoming Rabi season, farmers from different areas today approached former minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla and apprised him of their grievances.
They expressed grave concern over the failure of irrigation authorities to clean the canals in Jammu and Samba districts which are in a very bad condition. They said the canals in these districts are in very bad condition and unwanted grass has grown in them impeding the water supply to the fields. So, the water of canals could not reach to the tail end, they added.
Criticizing the authorities of Irrigation department, the farmers said the department is not serious towards mitigate the problems of the farmers by ensuring proper water supply to the fields. Farmers also alleged that the department has failed to clean the canals timely. The canals have damaged at many places.
Interacting with farmers, Bhalla expressed shock over BJP Govt’s claim of doubling farmers income by 2022 when it has badly failed to provide timely water to farming community despite the fact that Irrigation plays an important role in the agriculture of Jammu and Kashmir as it does not receive rain throughout the year and sometimes it is quite insufficient, it is neither uniform nor certain. While our irrigation solely depends upon canals yet human activity and administrative apathy together is contributing to slow death of these canals.
He regretted that rotten vegetables, debris, non-degradable waste can be seen floating at many places in Jammu canals. Almost all tributaries of canals have been turned into drains at places like Tallab Tillo, Trikuta Nagar, Railway Station, Nai Basti or Satwari. He said that Tube wells which were constructed are non functional due to lack of technical man power to operate them and also those in working position are also defunct due to apathy of BJP Govt.
He said the failure of the Government to regularly repair and desilt canals in Jammu and Kashmir has almost left these defunct. This has forced farmers to depend on precious groundwater to irrigate their fields by using water pumps. Across the villages, which are irrigated by three main channels – Ranbir, Pratap, and Tawi canals – one could witness huge pumps withdrawing water from deep aquifers. This exposed the tall claims of the Irrigation and Flood Control department of strengthening the decades-old network, he added.