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Ample water in canals, but crops dying

AFTER THE monsoon ditched the farmers, now it?s the ?gull? (channel) and ?kolaba? (conduit) of the canals that are adding to their misery. According to Irrigation Department officials, though the State has recorded deficient rainfall, they have sufficient water in the rivers to divert it into the canals for irrigation. Then why are the farmers not utilising the canal water to save their crop? The engineers in the Irrigation Department blame the ?gull? and the ?kolaba? for the piquant situation. ?It?s the duty of the Land Development and Water Resources Department to set up ?gull? and ?kolabas? in the tributaries of the main canal so that the farmers may draw water to their field for irrigation ?, the engineers said.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2006 11:48 IST

Conduit conundrum hits farmers

AFTER THE monsoon ditched the farmers, now it’s the ‘gull’ (channel) and ‘kolaba’ (conduit) of the canals that are adding to their misery.

According to Irrigation Department officials, though the State has recorded deficient rainfall, they have sufficient water in the rivers to divert it into the canals for irrigation.

Then why are the farmers not utilising the canal water to save their crop? The engineers in the Irrigation Department blame the ‘gull’ and the ‘kolaba’ for the piquant situation.

“It’s the duty of the Land Development and Water Resources Department to set up ‘gull’ and ‘kolabas’ in the tributaries of the main canal so that the farmers may draw water to their field for irrigation ”, the engineers said.

“But the Land Development and Water Resources Development Department has not set up the ‘gull’ and ‘kolabas’ and it is difficult for the farmers to draw the water from the canals. The crop is dying though we have sufficient water for irrigation”, they rued.

Engineer in Chief of the Irrigation Department DC Samant told Hindustan Times though there was scanty rainfall in the State, still the major rivers had 15 to 25 percent more water in comparison to the previous year in the month of September. “The condition of the canals is no different. We have 30 percent more water in the canals in comparison to the previous year” he informed.

We can save the crops in the area that have a network of canals.  The canal network in Uttar Pradesh is 71,780 kms and the canals cover 40 per cent of the irrigation needs, while reservoirs, ponds and pumps provide water for 50 per cent of the cultivated land. Only 10 per cent of the area is dependent on the monsoon rain”, Samant said.

“The canals have 10,237 tails and water has reached 8118 tails though the target for the kharif season was 8553 tails,” he said and added that once the water was released in the canals, it was for the Land Development and Water Resources Department to ensure that the water reached the fields for irrigation, he said.

But the officers in the Land Development and Water Resources Department put the onus on the Irrigation Department for the water not reaching the fields.

Special Secretary Land Development and Water Resources Department BN Agarwal said, “We have set up ‘gull’ and ‘kolabas’ in majority of the canals and it is for the Irrigation Department to maintain it. Some of the ‘gulls’ and ‘kolabas’ are a year-old and are choked. The Irrigation Department should clean them for free flow of water”.

Agarwal said Irrigation Department officials were also hiding the fact that water was not reaching the tail area of the canal. They had not carried out desiltation before the kharif season and water had not reached the tail of the 415 canals.

In Bundelkhand region, several canals were running dry, he lamented.

Commissioner of Sharda Shayak Samadesh Project Hardev Singh said, “We set up ‘kolabas’ and ‘gull’ for irrigation purposes.Once there is flow of water in the minor canals and distributaries of the main canal, there is continous flow of water for a year”. Singh said it was for the Irrigation Department to explain why no water was available in the Mauraw branch, Purwa and Unnao branch of the Sharda Canal. Even if permanent ‘gulls ‘and ‘kolabas’ were not constructed, the farmers drew water from the temporary ‘gulls’ and ‘kolabas’, he said.