Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Monday expressed dismay over the delay in the annual desilting and clearing of agricultural irrigation canals across Kashmir, saying the inordinate delay in the annual clearance and repairs of canals will affect the paddy cultivation.
In a joint statement issued to Kashmir news service (KNS), the senior party leaders Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Sakina Itoo, Dr Bashir Veeri, Javed Dar, Abdul Majeed Bhat Larmi, Altaf Ahmad Wani and Spokesperson Imran Nabi have expressed concern over the delay of the annual desiltation process.
“There is no denying the fact that COVID-19 outbreak has stalled various activities, however, the government was expected to learn from its previous experiences and streamline its efforts underway to combat COVID-19 and ensure day to day administrative activities as well which unfortunately is not happening,” they said.
“It seems that district and divisional administration has abdicated its responsibilities of catering to basic needs of people. Our region is already a food grain deficit region. The inordinate delay in ensuring hassle-free supply of irrigation water to farmers will not only show up in the ebbing of annual food grain production but also affect the livelihood of our farmers. The sector employs a vast workforce and provides living to lacs of families across Kashmir division.
The incumbent government has already failed to drive local agriculture and horticulture sectors towards normalcy from the abject condition it has been plunged into by the successive clampdowns and lockdowns and apathy, the delay in cleaning the irrigation canals will give a mortal blow to the already ailing sector, resulting in job losses, decline in agriculture and desertification of large tracts of arable lands in south and north Kashmir areas,” they said.
The leaders impressed upon the divisional administration to instruct the concerned department to act swiftly and clear the inlets and irrigation canals of weed growth and obstructions due to piled up silt so that the water reaches tail-end areas to enable farmers take up paddy cultivation.
The functionaries also impressed upon the divisional administration to instruct the concerned department of irrigation and flood control to make urgent repairs on the banks to check erosion.
Meantime, the functionaries have been receiving complaints from various areas in the north and south Kashmir districts about the unavailability of fertilizers due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
The farmers aren’t able to access fertilizer dealers at various townships across the north and south Kashmir districts; they said adding, “District administration should have taken anticipatory measures to ensure the availability of fertilizers to farmers. It is expected that the divisional administration will wake up from slumber and instruct the district commissioners across north and south Kashmir to work out a mechanism to ensure the availability of fertilizers, seeds and other agricultural equipment to farmers in time.
The disbanding of sale and seed procurement centres across Kashmir by the incumbent government during the previous year has further aggravated the situation. Had those centres been functional today, the situation would have been much different,” they said.
They also impressed upon the concerned district commissioners of Kupwara, Baramulla, Shopian, Kulgam, and Pulwama to assess the losses to the standing crops of farmers due to heavy hail storm that lashed Kashmir division the other day on an immediate basis so that the amount of compensation is worked out and distributed at an earliest. They demanded that the compensation be given to farmers, and horticulturalists on the basis of MSP.(KNS)