Budgam: A prolonged dry spell in Kashmir has led to decreased water levels in streams that are vital for irrigation. The water scare has left locals especially Budgam farmers in distress!

The months’ long dry spell has resulted in decreased water flow in river Jehlum and its adjacent canals among which some have even dried up.

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J&K Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC) Department has advised the farmers through public notices to skip the cultivation of water-intensive paddy crop this year while the Agricultural Department is preparing a contingency plan to deal with any eventuality.

The advisory also urges farmers to sow pulses and other cash crops, which use less water.

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All the farmers who cultivate paddy with the support of Marvel and Lethpora irrigation schemes are widely informed not to cultivate the crop and such vegetables which need much irrigation facility as the Department can not facilitate the farmers on time, one such advisory notice said.

After the presence of this fact, Budgam farmers are seen noticeably indecisive regarding their cultivation of paddy which is sown in mid-April.

While expressing his distress, Abdul Rashid, a farmer said, “Paddy cultivation is farmers’ main expectation after Apple produce but it is unfortunate that Irrigation Department is notifying us not to cultivate paddy crops”.

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“We were informed to cultivate other crops which are less water dependent, but every crop at least needs irrigation facility during sprouting”, another farmer lamented.

Some farmers now fear a drought as they majorly depend on the rainwater collecting in their paddy fields for the planting process. To irrigate the crop later, they use water from streams and canals.

Farmers also believe that the paddy fields in Kashmir valley are capable to produce only rice and not any other cash crops.

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