Monday, July 2, 2012

Water logging: Team from Delhi to visit July 2

Gurmail Singh Rajpal and Ajmer Singh, farmers in Sikhwala village in Muktsar, have not cultivated their land for years. Water logging problems have caused their lands to become barren. They are now working in the fields of others to make both their ends meet. The same problem afflicts Ajay Nagpal in Fazilka, whose 3 acre land has also been lying vacant for years. Nagpal has had to give up farming and is now working in the private sector to earn his living.

Rajpal, Singh and Nagpal are not alone. Thousands of acres of land in the Malwa belt are facing water logging problems. In areas like Muktsar, Bhatinda, Fazilka and Ferozepur, farmers are either surviving on bank loans or have changed their profession. The worst off are working as farm labour in other's fields.

In order to gain first hand knowledge of the problems of these farmers, a 10-member team from New Delhi will be visiting various districts of the Malwa belt on July 2. The team intends to submit its report by the last week of November this year. Later, the Centre may sanction funds for finding solutions to this problem. The team will be headed by Mihir Shah, Member, Water Resources and Rural Development.

Sikhwala is the worst affected village in Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's constituency Lambi. 35 other villages around this area are also equally affected, according to information received from the Agriculture Department.

DC of Fazilka, Dr Basant Garg, said "In Punjab, Fazilka has the maximum water logged area and it is 12,000 acres in total. So the team will be interacting with the farmers even in this area as well."

Some progressive farmers in Fazilka have already launched a project to start a food park there, and to revive water logged land. The team is likely to suggest solutions to the farmers, besides making a project report about the actual problem in the entire belt.

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