Canals running dry, Fazilka farmers claim crop loss - ECAS Punjab

Canals running dry, Fazilka farmers claim crop loss

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Praful Chander Nagpal

Tribune news service

Fazilka, June 15

Resentment is brewing among a large number of farmers who own land at the tail end of canals, particularly in the border areas of Fazilka district, due to shortage of canal water.

Notably, the non-perennial eastern canal system provides irrigation water to the Fazilka subdivision. However, according to farmers, the eastern canal and its branches, including the Bandiwala, Lakhewali and Jandwala minor canals, have not been carrying water to their optimum capacity.

"We have been facing scarcity of canal water for the past few days as a result of which the standing cotton and paddy crops have been affected. The cotton crops need canal water in hot weather when mercury hovers around 45deg;C," said Hardeep Dhaka, sarpanch of border village Khanpur, adding that the brackish subsoil water was not fit for irrigation purposes.

One of the reasons behind scarcity of water is stated to be its theft by farmers. "Some affluent farmers, particularly in the Jalalabad segment, have been stealing water for several years allegedly in connivance with officials, resulting in scarcity of water in the tail-end villages," alleged farmer Raj Singh of Kerian village.

Executive Engineer (Canals) Jagtar Singh said teams had been constituted to check the water theft. Sources said the worst affected villages were Khanpur, Churiwala, Kerian, Bandiwala, Sivana, Muradwala, Bareka, Shahtirwala, Kheowali Dhab, Lakhewali Dhab, Kabulshah, Jandwala and Rampura.

XEN Jagtar Singh said a technical snag had developed at the Ballanwala headworks near Ferozepur, which had been fixed. He said the water would be released in a couple of days.

from The Tribune

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