The Punjab irrigation department has reclaimed 1,250 acres of land along the Rajasthan Canal, also known as Indira Gandhi Canal, lying unused for more than 65 years.
The land, measuring 1.5 acres wide, runs along the canal in Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar districts. It has been given to the state forest department for plantation.
“The canal was constructed in 1955 but 1,250 acres remained unused since. On a visit to the area when we enquired about this unused stretch that runs nearly 100 km and checked the revenue records we found that the state irrigation department is its owner. Therefore, we decided to put this land to use,” said secretary irrigation KS Pannu.
Pannu said he had advised the forest department to plant a variety of trees on the land to boost beekeeping. Punjab Agricultural University has advised the forest department to grow trees that are conducing for beekeeping.
“The plantation has already begun on 650 acres and the rest would be undertaken in the monsoon season next year,” said Kuldip Kumar, principal chief conservator of forests.
Pannu said he had asked the forest department to plant similar trees along the Kandi and the Bist Doab canals.
Punjab Beekeepers’ Association president Simranjeet Singh said this 100-km green stretch would boost beekeeping in state.