As irrigation canal turns into bed of weeds, farmers cry foul

By Times Of India on 13 Mar 2018 | read
PILIBHIT: The 9-km Pandaria canal between Patania and Mahadeva villages in Pilibhit’s Bisalpur block has dried up and does not have a drop of water. Its silt-filled bed is full of weeds. The canal’s cracked embankments have caved in at several places.
The Pandaria minor canal, has been lying dry for the past two years. There was a time when its water was used to irrigate the fields of at least 12 villages. Local farmers, mostly small and marginal, have blamed the canal department for the canal drying up over the past two years. They claimed that for a long time, the department had neither carried out desilting work nor released water into this minor canal.

Now, said the farmers, they have to fend for themselves by drawing underground water by using diesel-run pumps.

According to Nazif Bano, gram pradhan of Abhaipur Chaina viilage, under Bisalpur tehsil circle, “The canal is full with silt, weeds and shrubs due to negligence on the part of the canal department. We have repeatedly given applications to engineers and administrative officials, requesting them to restore water flow in the canal but in vain.

“In absence of canal water, the villagers are dependent on diesel pumps for drawing water for irrigation which is costly and an additional burden on poor farmers,” said Nazif Bano.

Now, the canal is in such a state of disrepair that it needs to be properly desilted and its embankments will have to be rebuilt before releasing water into it, she added.

On being asked about this, executive engineer of the canal department Dalip Kumar said the matter had not come to his notice. “I will seek an update on the status of the dry canal from department staff concerned and if discrepancies are found, they will be held liable,” he said.

An agricultural scientist at Krashi Vigyan Kendra, Pilibhit, SS Dhaka, said, “The wheat and maize crops at present require proper irrigation.”

Irrigation of fields is a must for fresh sowing of sugarcane and water will also be needed for proper germination of the crop, he added.