Friday, June 22, 2012

Waterlogging ensures farmers' money, efforts go down drain

Waterlogging has swallowed large chunks of fertile agricultural land in Abohar and Khuiya Sarvar blocks of Fazilka district. More than four lakh acres in other parts of state are affected by the problem. 
Water level that goes higher and higher damages crop on 5,000 acres every year  in Fazilka district and prevents the next round of sowing. Any crop sowed in saline water is lost.Bhawalwassi, Dhaba Kokria, Dharangwala, Ramgarh, Gdadobh, Bhangala, and Chanankhera in Abohar subdivision, and Abhoon and Begawali in Fazilka subdivision are the worst-affected villages.

At Abhoon and Begawali, the water level has increased by 5 to 8 feet. Villagers seek "waterlogged" status for the places.

Abohar legislator Sunil Jakhar, leader of opposition in the state assembly, wants serious steps for water management in Punjab. "It's futile throwing public money into laying new drains and other temporary measures to solve the problem," he said. "The Russian and Kazakh models seem the best permanent solutions, so let some experts go to the two countries to study how they do it."

The Fazilka land was best suited for horticulture, and it would be sad, if its potential were unrealised because of water accumulation, said Jakhar. On his last visit to Punjab, Jairam Ramesh, union minister for rural development, formed a team to solve the issue.

Dr Mihir Shah would lead an eight-member high-level expert group of the Planning Commission that would visit Punjab to review the situation.

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