Crops in 5 Nangarhar districts threatened
JALALABAD (PAN): Farmers in several districts of eastern Nangarhar province said on Tuesday they could lose standing crops grown over dozens of acres of land if a canal irrigating the fields was not repaired forthwith.
The main irrigation canal in Nangarhar was destroyed and washed out by heavy flooding days ago, restricting the flow of water to five districts.
Provincial canalisation director Ziarat Gul, who inspected the damaged portions of the canal, said the system had been destroyed by the floods, endangering crops spread over large stretches of land in the district.
He said reconstruction works on the damaged sites had been initiated and would be completed over the next four or five days to save crops on 62.5 acres of land if fresh floods did not occur.
He said his department had been granted $50,000 to repair the canal, a project to be launched in winter.
The water flow has stopped reaching farm lands in Surkhrud, Behsud, Batikot, Ghanikhel, Momand Dara and other districts, where farmers feared losing their crops already affected by recent floods.
A farmer, Malak Matiullah, claimed he would have repaired the entire canal with the help of youth if he had been allowed by the authorities concerned to do so.
“Everyone is corrupt here. No one has any concern for the poor. We lack food and all eyes are fixed on the crops,” he said. He said farmers themselves could repair the canal on self-help basis if allowed so.
A Ghanikhel tribal elder Malak Zahir said crops in many areas had already started dying due to the lack of irrigation water.
The canal was destroyed by overflowing water 14 days ago, but the government was yet to take any action, he said, adding they could bring the system in order by involving the youth if allowed.
However, the canalisation director said they had intensified efforts at repairing the damaged embankments and the flow of water to the affected areas would be restored soon.
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