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Delay in canal clean-up adds to farmers’ woes




  • The slow-work on desalination of major canals has added to water owes of farmers in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The desalination campaign was delayed for further one month, behind its fixed schedule to complete in month of January. 

    Most of seasonal crops will be spoilt, if the water supply from canals not restored immediately. As, they are being faced with greater difficulties for irrigating their standing crops in absence of adequate water, said a local farmer, while talking to Business Recorder here on Tuesday. 

    Usually, he said that the desalination drive was completed in month of January, but the process of cleaning up canals has been slowed down by irrigation department, without any reason, he added. Every year, the irrigation department had allocated a hefty amount for desalination campaign, but the delay in process of cleaning up canals, might increase financial implications on the national exchequer. 

    “We have no other source to irrigate standing crops, but totally dependent on supply of water from these minor or major canals”, said Haji Subhan Khan, hailing from Landi Arbab Village, Peshawar. He alleged that the officials of irrigation department were involved in misuse of funds allocated for desalination drive. 

    This season, he expressed fear that many crops could not produced in a sufficient quantity due to low rains and supply of required water from the canals. The official at irrigation department repelled the allegations about mismanagement of funds allocated for canals desalination drive in the province, adding that the campaign almost completed in major and minor canals. “We had behind a week against the scheduled for completion time of desalination drive, otherwise, the clean-up work at all major and small canal so far completed, said Chief Executive Warsak Canal, Engineer Aamir Iqbal while talking to this scribe. He, however, said the drive may take two to three month, because of monsoon rains during January a period fixed for desalination drive in KP province. 

    “I was being unable to irrigate agriculture lands due to prolonged blockade of water supply from canals in wake of ongoing desalination drive, which was almost delayed for one month, said Asghar Khan, a small farmer, said while explaining his ordeals. He further said that the situation would get worst, if the supply of water couldn’t restore immediately. 

    It is pertinent to mention here that a two-members bench of Peshawar High Court constituted headed by Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan already issued orders for erecting fences and safety walls along the canals passing through the provincial capital and arrest all those, who were dumping sewage in canals through their residential drainage systems. 

    The court also directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Secretary Irrigation to prepare a draft- bill, meant to declare the practice of littering of canals a non-bailable criminal offence, by putting before the provincial law department. The PHC also took a suo-motu notice of the environmental degradation in the provincial capital and issued detailed order. 

    The Sub-Divisional Engineer Warsak Gravity Canal said that they had so far completed a total length of 2,26,000 of the canal. He further said that canal measuring 25,0000 in Khyber Agency, and 1,47,000 in Peshawar division, was completed cleanup. An approximately Rs 11-12 million had allocated for the cleanliness of canal, against the estimated demand of Rs 50 million for the purpose, said Muhammad Arif Khan, sub-divisional officer. He classified that they had almost completed cleanliness in different minor-canals, including Warsak, Kafouri Dari, Mulazai, Palosia, Tehkhal, Umarzai, Urmar, and Pabbi. 

    The sub-divisional officer, Warsak-lift Canal, said that they had completed desalination campaign on February 17, a two day, behind the scheduled one month fixed for the campaign. He said the current monsoon rains as basic causes for hampering the drive, as we had already completed the drive on February 5, said Fakhar Alam, sub-divisional officer, Lift Canal. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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