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Swat farmers demand reopening of irrigation channel

MINGORA: The farmers in Kabal tehsil have demanded of the authorities to reopen Nepkikhel irrigation channel.

The district irrigation department has temporarily closed the district’s longest and oldest irrigational channel for routine maintenance, cleanliness and repair. However, the farmers alleged that the channel was closed 18 days ago but no repair or cleanliness work was started. They said that closure of the channel was affecting their crops.

Over 8,000 acres land is being irrigated by the Nepkikhel irrigation channel. The farmers said that they would soon need water to irrigate their fields. Further delay in its reopening would badly affect their standing crops, they added.

“They have closed the irrigation channel on February 1 for maintenance and cleanliness purpose but no practical work has been started as the channel is full of stones and other mess,” said Mohammad Raziq, a farmer in Koza Bandai area. He feared that maintenance of the channel would take more than two months which would destroy their standing crops.


Official says the channel will be reopened by the end of this month


Mr Raziq said his wheat crop would need to be irrigated after a week but the channel would remain closed for the next one month.

The farmers said that the department always announced to close the channel for one month but it took two or more months. They criticised the department for slow pace of work.

Habib Ahmad, another farmer, who has cultivated onion this year, was more concerned about irrigating his fields. “We have already missed irrigating our fields this month and if it takes more time to repair the channel, it would inflict heavy losses on us because our crop will go waste,” he told this scribe.

Mr Ahmad said that he was a poor farmer and depended on his crop for livelihood.

However, SDO Bakhtiar Khan, when contacted, said that date for reopening of the channel was February 15 but the maintenance staff was busy in some necessary construction work.

“A proper cleanliness work is going on under the monitoring team from Peshawar. The delay occurred as we have to repair an aqueduct which will take about 15 more days. Most probably the channel will be reopened by the end of this month,” he added.

Published in Dawn

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