For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

Lifeline to Waste Line | Shounsh Khul choked by encroachment, silt

Community calls for revival
12:51 AM Jun 11, 2024 IST | ALTAF BABA
lifeline to waste line   shounsh khul choked by encroachment  silt

Baramulla, June 10: The Shounsh Khul irrigation canal, once the lifeline for paddy fields across a dozen villages in north Kashmir, has fallen into disrepair, prompting a wave of concern and frustration among the local farmers.


The Shounsh Khul canal, originating from Nallah Ningli, played a crucial role in irrigating extensive paddy fields and supporting horticultural land in villages such as Shrakwara, Dunghdara, Chanpora, Wagub, and Krankshivan.


However, over the years, the canal has suffered from severe neglect.


The dual issues of siltation and encroachment by some residents have drastically reduced its capacity and functionality.


Locals have repeatedly raised the issue with the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control, but their appeals have gone unheeded.


Muhammad Shafi, a farmer while expressing his concern said, “The department has complete records of the canal’s dimensions and a revenue official tasked with protecting it from encroachment. However, the lack of action from the department is a matter of concern for all.”


Encroachment along the canal’s route has been extensive, with some residents narrowing its dimensions to the point where it is unrecognisable.


“Right from Nallah Ningli to Krankshivan Sopore, encroachments have occurred at various spots,” said Jahangir Ahmad, a farmer from Wagoora. “The authorities need to take strict action against these encroachers to prevent further misuse.”

In addition to encroachment, the canal has suffered from siltation, which has led to significant irrigation problems for farmers.

“Whenever the concerned department initiates desiltation of the canal, it is only partially done, leaving farmers struggling with inadequate irrigation,” said another resident.

The canal’s decline has also led to its misuse as a dumping ground for household waste. Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident, said, "What was once a thriving waterway is now a cesspool of neglect. Villagers are dumping kitchen waste and refuse into it, making it virtually unusable."

Naseer Ahmad, another concerned resident, said, "People have even constructed latrines along its banks, contributing to a foul odour that now pervades the area. The canal, which once irrigated thousands of hectares of paddy land, has become a garbage dump."

The unchecked growth of weeds due to the lack of regular desilting has further impaired the canal’s functionality.

The locals here especially the farmers are now demanding immediate action from authorities to restore the canal to its former glory.

"The Shounsh Khul canal is essential for our agriculture. We urge the authorities to take prompt measures for its revival,” the locals said.