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Negligence and indifference of the irrigation department has caused heaps of dirt and weeds obstructing the flow of canal water, leading to severe difficulties for local farmers.

The system of maintenance and protection of canals have become ineffective, due to which piles of hay and dirt in all the branches of canals have become a major obstacle in the flow of water.

According to a report, more than 70% of the people of Punjab province live in villages and most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Rain and canal water still are the easiest and cheapest ways to meet most of the irrigation needs in the region.

For this purpose, the second largest canal system in the world was constructed in the province. A beldari system was devised for the continuous maintenance, protection and repair of canals and drains spread across the province.

In view of the importance of irrigation in the agriculture sector, the staff used to remain vigilant day and night and guard the canals to maintain the flow and supply of water.

Read Kachhi Canal extension to be completed by August 2022

However, incompetence and negligence on part of the officials concerned appears to have rendered the system ineffective.

Local farmers are facing severe difficulties because of the marked reduction in the flow of canal water as a result of lack of regular cleaning. Because of the obstructions, the flow of water slows down, due to which the crops are often deprived of canal water at the stipulated time.

The farmers have to buy tube-well water at high prices to irrigate the crops. The growers already have to bear economic loss caused by sale of substandard pesticides, fertilisers and seeds at high prices.

Land owners from a number of villages said while speaking to The Express Tribune that they were facing shortage of canal water supply.

Chaudhry Haroon Cheema, a land owner, said it was tantamount to criminal negligence that indifference regarding cleaning the canals would cause a decrease in the production of agricultural commodities.

Another farmer demanded intervention by the Punjab chief minister to resolve the issue of problems in the supply of canal water.

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