No water for irrigation, this village has survival at risk
Halmatpora (Kupwara), Aug 3: As temperatures soar across Valley, scores of villages in this north Kashmir district are facing water crisis unheard of in the past.
The situation has not only hit the day-to-day life in village after village, it is staring at the future prospects of farming community as vast tracts of paddy and maize fields have dried up, leaving little hope for the people “forgotten by the government.”
In Halmatpora, one of the affected villages with population of more than 10000, a single water tanker supplies potable water every day.
“How can a bucket of water suffice our day to day needs,” said Mir Sonaullah Khan of Halmatpora. “We don’t’ have water to drink or cook and our paddy fields have got destroyed.”
Halmatpora is not the lone village affected. Khan said Gonipora, Khanpora, Zadipora, Sonawari, Challagund, Reshigund, Dardsun and Gundisona are among the worst affected villages.
“More than 50,000 people are hit by the situation,” he said.
Most of these villages are located on foothills of Bridgethore forest and usually depend on the rainfall to meet their drinking water needs and irrigation requirements.
Besides, a vital stream originating from Batpora and running through the villages would take care of their drinking water and irrigation needs.
However the dry weather condition witnessed for past over three years has exhausted the water resources. Apart from it, locals alleged the stream, following intervention by the local MLA, was diverted to some other villages, compounding problems for them.
Villagers said even the bore wells and tube wells have dried up. In Halmatpora just one bore well is functional to meet the local demands.
Another villager Muhammad Aslam said though the lift irrigation system is available in the village, the electricity shortage has left it defunct. “A generator set purchased some two years back for the purpose has not been used so far,” he said.
“This is for the first time in my entire life that we have seen drought like situation,” said Aslam.
Kashmir Valley has been witnessing dry spell amid sweltering heat conditions for past many weeks. The temperature in the Valley has even touched 36 degree Celsius.
What has brought more worry for these villagers is that the vast tracts of crop fields like paddy and maize have dried up due to lack of irrigation facility resulting from water shortage. The paddy and maize cultivation is the main source of farming in these villages.
Khan said more than 40000 kanals of paddy and maize land has been affected by “drought like situation” in the villages.
“Look, we have lost everything,” said Muhammad Shafi Mocchi pointing toward a dried up paddy field.
The dried up fields is an indication of tough times ahead. “These fields would not only meet our annual rice requirement but we would get enough crops to sell to meet our other requirements. But nothing is left now,” said Ghulam Ahmad Payar who said he owns 15 kanals of paddy land.
With government is nowhere in the sight to provide relief to the villagers, people are now offering special prayers in Halmatpora for rainfall.
“We have not seen local MLA visiting here since 2010 when he came here for votes,” said Imtiyaz Sofi. “He has never come to share our problems.”
The District Development Commissioner, Kupwara, Sarmad Hafeez said the situation was “not so grim”. “Directions have been issued to agriculture and horticulture departments to assess the losses if any,” Hafeez said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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