The governments come and the governments go, but the problem of water-logging continues in the areas of Gurdaspur, Dinanagar and Kahnuwan blocks in this district.
The water-logging in these areas of the district is so acute that the wheat growers had to sell off their standing wheat crop as fodder to the Gujjars about a month ago. In most fields in these areas, the wheat crop failed even before it reached the stage of flowering.
Despite all this, the wheat growers of these water-logged areas have never received any sort of compensation from the government for their loss. The farmers in these areas own small land holdings which are already inadequate to support their households.
According to official figures, 1599 hectares of land is under water in 19 villages namely Tanda, Mangian, Jagatpur Kalan, Dalla, Badana, Miani, Sawla, Gurhian, Narainpur, Godar, Khorian, Kohlian, Chhina Bet, Alle Chak, Bhukra, Keshopur, Maghar Mudhian, Sadhu Chak and Sheikha in Gurdaspur block.
In Dinanagar block, water-logging has been reported in 447 hectares of land in 9 villages namely Dalelpur, Kherha, Chechian Chhorian, Khudadadpur, Dalla, Mashrala, Shamsherpur, Uchcha Dhakala and Mattan.
Similarly, 4093 hectares of land in Kahnuwan block is water-logged in 26 villages namely Dauwal, Pathian, Bhaini Meelwan, Bhaini Paswal, Gunnopur, Chak Abdul Barhi, Kahnuwan, Saidowal, Khurd, Darapur, Jungle, Bhurian Sainian, Chawrhian, Gahlarhian, Dalla Gorian, Mann, Chopra, Chawrhian, Kotli Sainian, Balrha, Fatehpur, Bhundewal, Gunjhian Bet, Munari Khurd, Bhaini Kane and Saidowal Kalan.
A farmer, Babu Ram, of Chawa village told Hindustan Times that the problem of water-logging in the village had enhanced due to laying of a pucca road in the area leading to Gurdwara Ghallughara Kahnuwan Chhamb about five years ago. He said that the raised level of this road did not allow the standing water of the area to flow to the other side of the seasonal drain and cultivation of any crop had become almost impossible on the land in the village.
The seasonal drain at Pindori village that falls in Beas river at Bhet Pattan has not been cleaned for the last over a decade which adds to the problem of water logging in the area.
When contacted, Gurdaspur drainage sub-divisional engineer Jaspal Singh said that the department had not received sufficient grants from the government for desilting of as many as 72 seasonal drains in the water-logged areas extending from the banks of the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) and Beas river in the district.
The farmers failed to grow wheat crop in this area this season due to the havoc caused by water logging in the region.
Most of the farmers of this area are under debt and they are doing cultivation just in the name of furthering their family tradition of farming.
Interestingly, none of the political parties or candidates raised the issue or promised to make efforts to tackle the problem in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.