Irrigation Canal shrinks, allotted funds siphoned in Handwara

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Handwara, Apr 16: Dahgam Kul, the Irrigation Canal irrigated ten villages in Handwara has been succumbed to a domestic waste channel after ‘uncared’ encroachment and siphoning of the funds allotted for the restoration of the water body leading to the sharp dip in the irrigated agricultural land share coupled with water stress in the area due to the administrative apathy.
The residents of Ahangar Mohalla, Zargar Mohalla, Jamia Qadeem, Bhat Mohalla, Jamia Jadeed, New Bus Stand and Handwara town are facing the worst water stress due to the collapsing of the historic Dahgam kul. The Dahgam kul was constructed in 18th century and is considered as the lifeline of Handwara town. It is also viewed as the source of the breadbasket of the town since centuries. Unfortunately, the canal has been reduced to a septic and domestic waste drain by the illegal encroachments.
Interestingly, the restoration plan of the Dahgam kul was approved in 2002 and allotted 10 crore rupees for constructing concrete bank-walls and base apart from canal dredging. The irrigation and flood control department has no doubt constructed the concrete walls and base in some patches of the kul but largely have left the canal uncared wall-less. The apathy of the department has led to the encroachment on the banks of the canal which eventually reduced the width of the kul from 16 feet to 4 feet.
Javed Zargar, a social activist has already filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) bearing number 16/2014 on the callousness of the department in Jammu and Kashmir High Court on which the court had directed the department for the immediate dismantling of the structures on water bodies. The Department of Irrigation and flood control having the mandate of providing irrigation channels and controlling floods is unscrupulously doing the reverse of shrinking water bodies and increases flood vulnerability of the town.
During summer, the de-silting of the irrigation canal by the department removes all the dirt and dumps on the roads which pollutes the air with septic odor which leads to sanitation issues. (KNS)