The canal distributary here has been lying closed for about past 10 days and many farmers, who have already harvested their paddy crop, are feeling the shortage of water as now they need it to irrigate their fields to sow wheat crop.
The sowing of wheat starts from the last week of October, but fields need heavy irrigation before sowing of wheat.
Besides the closure of the canal, that caters to dozens of villages in the district, power supply is also being provided only for about 3 to 4 hours only after September 30 as the paddy season was over.
"The power is being provided for about 4 hours. The distributary has also been lying closed for about 10 days and we are badly feeling the shortage of water to irrigate our fields to sow the wheat crop," said Chamkaur Singh, a farmer who has his land in Devi Wala village.
"Like me, there are many farmers, who need water to irrigate the fields for the preparation of the fields to sow the next wheat crop. The Rajbaha Faridkot canal provides water to dozens of villages. Only those farmers do not need water who have yet to harvest paddy or basmati, but rest of the farmers are dependent on the canal water. Even in the off-season, drawing tubewell water does not make any sense because the water table is already running low. So, the irrigation department must release water in the canal for irrigation and prepare the fields for the sowing of wheat," Chamkaur said.
"I have about 65 acres of land which has been ploughed after the harvesting of paddy, but I have failed to irrigate it so far because the canal water is not available for many days and power supply is only limited to 3 to 4 hours. Many farmers are waiting for canal water to irrigate their fields," said Gurmeet Singh Brar, Sarpanch of Bir Sikhan Wala village.
"The Faridkot Rajbaha, the distributary, which carries water from the canal to many villages, had to be closed because many farmers from tail-end villages did not need water. If it gets the supply of water, the tail-end villages complain of excessive water," claimed a source in the department.
"The Rajbaha is so designed that when it carries half of the water supply, all water flows to the tail-end villages leaving many others dry as they have higher heads of water channels as per design. So, tail-end villages get more water. So, they complain of excessive water," said a farmer.
The newly-built Rajbaha has also got damaged at some places within two years near Devi Wala village.
"As per the rules, the canal water is supposed to be supplied when there is 60% demand. But, after paddy season is over, there is little demand of water. The farmers want even canal to irrigate the fractions of their fields of fodder crops or others, which is not possible as it leads to loss to others. We try to supply water as per the needs and rules laid down for regulation of flow," said Nirmal Singh Brar, EXEN, irrigation, Faridkot.
"As for damaged walls of the Rajbaha is concerned, I shall have it checked," he said.