Officials Visit Paddy Lands Turned Barren After KO Report

Ajaz Ali

Srinagar: A team of officials led by Director Agriculture on Friday visited Battewudur area of Budgam district, two days after Kashmir Observer reported about the failure of the irrigation and flood control department to restore the canal damaged by a landslide seven years ago.

According to reports, a team of Agriculture Department officials led by Director Choudhary Iqbal on Friday visited Battewudur, Surasyar in Central Kashmir and took stock of the situation due to the blockade of a water canal that used to serve as a major source of irrigation for paddy fields spread over two thousand kanals of land.

The visit was carried out on the instructions of Principal Secretary Navin Kumar Chowdhary, sources said.

“I visited the area and took firsthand stock of the situation. I will submit the report to the government within two days,” Director Agriculture, Choudhary Iqbal told Kashmir Observer on Friday.

He further said that the irrigation canal in the area had suffered damages in 2001 and 2006 as well and had been timely repaired by the officials.

“However, no one addressed the issue of the irrigation canal after it was hit by a landslide. I have taken up the issue of its restoration with authorities. I have been told that a provision has been kept for repair of that irrigation canal and the restoration work will soon take place,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if the villagers cultivate paddy or maize. My concern is that the farmers should get adequate irrigation facilities,” he added.

Iqbal and his team’s visit to Batwudur came two days after Kashmir Observer in its widely acclaimed programme ‘Inkishaaf’ reported about the failure of the irrigation and flood control department to restore a vital water body damaged by a landslide during the 2014 floods for want of approval from the higher ups.

According to the villagers, a paddy field spread over 2000 kanals of land in the remote Battewudur area of Budgam used to be a major source of income for hundreds of families of Surasyar, Bonyen, Kathiyar and other adjoining villages till 2014. However, a landslide triggered by incessant rains in 2014 damaged the only water canal that villagers used to irrigate their paddy fields, turning it barren.

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