PESHAWAR: Hundreds of thousands of orchards and agricultural lands are fast becoming barren in the plains of Peshawar division after being hit by severe water scarcity due to indifferent attitude of those at the helm of affairs.
The farmers and landowners belonging to various villages, including Haryana, Nasapa, Nahaqi, Shakarpura, Daman-e-Afghani staged a protest rally on Charsadda Road to press the authorities concerned to take steps for coping with the water shortage that has caused huge losses to the dwellers of these areas.
The protestors threatened to besiege the office of irrigation minister and his secretary if steps were not taken to ensure timely supply of irrigation water in the areas where the standing crops of wheat, sugarcane, maize and orchards of pears, apricots, and persimmon (Japanese fruit) have badly been affected.
Abdul Mateen, Town-II council member, told The News on the occasion that they had been facing severe shortage of irrigation water for the last several years, due to which many moderate land-owning families have lost their sustenance.
He said these families had started selling out their lands in these areas where unplanned housing schemes had been launched, which posed serious threat to the government planning and local populations.
The town member added that they were pooling their resources to arrange water for their crops on their own for years now. However, it has now become impossible for them to make irrigation water available for their crops anymore.
He informed that they had held meetings with the relevant authorities including the secretary irrigation and apprised them of the situation, but so far nothing was done in this regard.
Abdul Mateen said the farmers have decided to hold sit-ins in front of provincial assembly, Peshawar Press Club and secretary irrigation office if the irrigation water supply issue was not resolved at the earliest.