Farmers are facing immense difficulties in irrigating standing crops in suburb villages of provincial metropolis due to allegedly blocking of water-supply from main irrigation system (Sarband Canal) and lowering flow by seepage in five-kilometer’s long-watercourses.
“I hardly acquired water for cultivatable lands due to lowering flow of water by seepage in watercourses”, said Aziz Khan, a 60 year-old farmer hailing from Landi Yarghajo (Arbab) a village next to Peshawar cantonment area. Growers, mostly faced water shortages in summer season, and blocking of water from centralised water distributed system (Sarband Canal), Khan said, while explaining ordeals of farmers to this scribe.
The Sarband canal is the only water-channel to fulfil the requirements of a vast piece of land consisting four moazas (a specified area declared by revenue department) consisting Landi Akhund Ahmad, Garhi Sikandar Khan, Landi Yaghajoi (Arbab) and moza Achar. Most of the growers in four village’s outskirts of Peshawar turned to use alternative sources of water for irrigating their cultivable lands in the prevailing pathetic condition of watercourses and discriminatory attitude of authorities concerned. The dismal condition of watercourses and unnoticed blocking of supply from main irrigation channels are main cause of water scarcity in the area.
Putting the responsibility on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Irrigation department of water-scarcity in the village, Khan blamed that the water supply was intentionally disrupted from the Sarband canal, leaving the farmers on dismal position to irrigate their fertile agriculture lands. “The colonial-era water distribution system was also caused personnel enmity among growers in village”, he explained
Khan said the alternative sources of water-supply, like pumps installed at the canal were not remained fully operational due to disruption of power supply. In prevailing situation, he said watercourses unfilled at required quantity of water to irrigate standing crops.
“We had raised the issue of improper distribution of water with the concerned officials at the Irrigation department, but to no avail, Khan added. He explained that the Sarband canal situated with distance of four to five kilometer next to tehsil Bara of Khyber Agency from his agriculture lands, which was hardly supplied required water in the present condition of watercourses.
Saifur Rahman, a farmer, explained similar ordeals of growing water scarcity under the present condition. “How we can irrigate our fertile agriculture lands, if not received required quantity of water”, he questioned. “We had drawn attention of authorities concerned, but not taking seriously the issue”, he informed.
“I will never used to leave the village, because agriculture lands are the only source of income for me”, but the issue of water shortages greatly perturbed me to feed my meadow in the present situation, said Alif Gul, said in distressed mood. He said the Irrigation department should analyse the gravity of the situation, and to take practical steps for resolution the pavement of outdated watercourses in the village.
Inamullah, a retired army personnel, informed that the area was earlier irrigated from the historical Bara Khwar flowing next to Landi Akhond Ahmad and Achar villages, but after the construction of ‘Spera dam’ a small dam and an irrigation project ahead in Khyber agency, in the federally administered tribal area, this natural water from hills of Khyber stopped. While the affected formers were provided with an alternative in shape of the above stated Sarband canal that has linked with Warsak dam, but ironically the said canal are being filled-up through electric water pumps.
Aziz Khan maintained that many of his other former friends were facing with the similar difficulties, because of the non-availability of water to irrigate lands.