Friday, April 16, 2010

India-controlled Kashmir braces for drought in summer

The People’s Daily Online (China): The officials of Irrigation Department and Flood Control in India- controlled Kashmir have forecasted drought this summer across the area close to line of Control (LoC) and has asked farmers not to cultivate paddy crop in their fields. The warning was issued to the farmers in Handwara belt, in the frontier district of Kupwara, 85 km northwest of Srinagar city, summer capital of India-controlled Kashmir.

The Department predicts acute shortage of water for irrigation of paddy crop in the area. It has also issued a government circular on Monday asking farmers to shelve the idea of cultivating rice this season.

"Water flow in rivers, streams and canals has receded due to climate change and lack of timely snow and rainfall during the winter season. There is possibility of the drought in near future and farmers in the division are informed not to cultivate paddy this year, for its cultivation is impossible in the wake of drought. Onus of violating the order will be exclusively of farmers," reads the circular.

However, the advisory is silent about the alternative to the farmers. "It is ridiculous that instead of suggesting the alternative crop, the concerned officials are asking us not to cultivate rice, which is our main crop and a source of sustenance for our families, " said Ghulam Rasool Bhat, a farmer in Handwara. Ironically the agriculture department is silent over the issue. The government order has panicked the farmers in the area but they are adamant on cultivating paddy in the current season….

The Shaksgam Valley between China and Pakistan. shot by Zhdanov, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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