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June 14, 2021

Faced with starvation: Growers threaten protest over non-release of water in Och Nehr

PESHAWAR: The farmers of the areas located along the Warsak Lift Canal popularly known as Och Nehr have asked the government to release water in the canal so that they could irrigate crops.

The canal is one of the main water channels in the provincial metropolis that irrigates 1000s acre land on the southern and south-eastern side of the city.

The canal is actually a lift canal wherein water is supplied through pumps. Proper water supply has not been maintained in the canal over the last four years, making fertile land barren.

The people of the areas through which the canal passes are small landowners dependent on farming. Owing to lack of water, they are unable to bring the land under cultivation.

The irony is that the majority of the areas fall in the constituency of Governor Shah Farman. He twice won the provincial assembly seat from this area. The locals are tired of asking him to help ensure release of water in the canal.

Sher Wali Khan is one such farmer in the Zangali area situated along this canal. He said that he sown maize crop due to unavailability of water in the canal, but it was going to wither because of the dry spell. “Being a peasant, I grow crops on seven acre of land. This is our livelihood. My family will face starvation if the crop fails,” he feared. He urged the ones at the helm of affairs to help prevent the crop failure.

Wajid Khan Afridi is a landowner in the area. He said that his tenants have sown very small pieces of land with various crops, but they were unable to irrigate the crops due to unavailability of water in the canal. Being a worker of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Wajid Khan criticised the incumbent government for being unable to serve the people.