17 days after heavy downpour: In Fazilka villages, farmers lose hope of saving crop, demand immediate relief

Written by Raakhi Jagga
| Ludhiana |

September 8, 2020 12:43:21 am

Crops damaged, heavy rainfall, Ludhiana news, Punjab news, Indian express newsDue to 10-12 hours of incessant rainfall on August 21and 22, fields in over 60 villages of Balluana, Fazilka and Abohar were affected. (Representational)

Seventeen day after a heavy bout of showers lashed village Bhangala in Fazilka district and flooded 2,000 acres of agricultural land here, the fields are still waterlogged, with farmers saying the standing cotton crop has suffered 100 per cent damage.

“We know that cotton crop has been damaged by 100 per cent. The village has 1,500 acres under cotton. Authorities must provide us some relief rather than waiting for Girdwari, which is only possible when water will evaporate,” said Labh Singh, a villager.

Due to 10-12 hours of incessant rainfall on August 21and 22, fields in over 60 villages of Balluana, Fazilka and Abohar were affected.

Rajinder Singh, who has kinnow orchards in village Dharangwala, said, “Our village has 3,000 acres of agricultural land out of which 2,200 acres is under cotton. All the fields are under water, but cotton is finished and orchards may also get damaged if the government does not wake up.”

According to the Agriculture Department, over 16,000 acres of area is affected and Punjab CM has even ordered a special Girdwari, but the Revenue Department has not yet started any work till now due to waterlogging.

Meanwhile, the affected villages have high water table. Saline water is at 2-feet depth below the ground due to which percolation of water in ground is not possible.

“A sem nallah called Aspal drain was made during the Parkash Singh Badal government. This drain starts from the Lambi. Since 2002, we are in trouble as sem water of Lambi area is drained out in the Aspal drain which floods our low lying fields,” said Labh Singh.

Jatta Singh, another farmer, said,” Water from sem nallah coming from Lambi keeps coming and it is flooding our fields as it has rained a number of times in that area over the past 10 days. Last time, all our crops got damaged was in 2011, later in 2014 and now in 2020. ”

Meanwhile all the villages fall in the constituency of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s Lok Sabha constituency Ferozepur, though he had issued a press statement in this connection on August 23, but he personally visited on Monday to interact with farmers.

Sukhbir Badal said,”Villages of Lambi have also been affected apart from Balluana, Abohar and Fazilka. This is a man-made disaster as Congress government failed to clean irrigation channels which has led to huge losses for farmers.”

He demanded immediate Girdwari to be conducted in all villages and enhanced compensation be given to affected farmers. Sukhbir said simultaneously money should be released to those whose houses have suffered damage.

Malkiat Singh, another villager, said that 3,000 acres of cotton in Muradwala village, 1,000 acres in Tejapatti and 2,000 acres in Kundal has also been damaged.

“At least we should get power supply, so that we can drain out water via pumps out of our fields, but we are not getting proper electricity,” said Malkiat.

Jatta Singh added,”Apart from cotton crop even our green fodder has been damaged, but we have not even been provided any green fodder till now for our animals.”

Meanwhile, farmers asserted that Aspal drain was the reason for this repeated damage to their crops.

“This drain can be connected to a dry channel of Ganganagar which is about 25 km away from the drain to solve our problem while the water in the dry irrigation channel can benefit Rajasthan farmers,” said Gurjeet Singh, another farmer.

Apart from damage to crops, several houses in low lying areas have also been damaged.

Sukhjit Singh, Executive Engineer, Drainage Department, said, “Our primary concern is to save people if they are affected. Agriculture fields, where we find a nearby drain, water is drained out in that particular drain while in many villages, we don’t find any drain nearby. Hence, evaporation is the only way out in such villages.”

D P Pandey, District Revenue Officer, Fazilka added, “Though the Agriculture Department’s survey says it affected nearly 16,000 acres, but the revenue department’s survey indicates that 6,600 acres area is affected and we will be able to do Girdwari once water is drained out completely. We need to wait for a week more.”

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