Once-vital irrigation canal in south Kashmir turns into dumping site

Once-vital irrigation canal in south Kashmir turns into dumping site

Residents slam ‘unresponsive’ attitude of authorities

The once-vital irrigation canal flowing through Darbagh in Shopian district and Zahidbagh in Pulwama district has been reduced to a dumping ground. The locals said they had reported the issue to the authorities only to find their pleas fall on deaf ears.

According to the residents who spoke to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the canal has been without water since 2014 when a siphon bridge, that used to channel water to agricultural fields, was damaged during floods.

They said attempts were made in May 2020 to address the issue by laying a pipeline to divert the canal's water to the Ranbiara river. However, the narrow pipes allowed only a few drops of water, and the system functioned for just a few days, they said.

The lack of water in the canal, coupled with the disposal of stagnant water and household waste by some locals, has created significant problems for passersby, said Sayar Ahmad, a concerned resident, adding, “Stagnant water and household waste are causing inconvenience to everyone, and the authorities are yet to intervene.”

Locals have also observed the canal being used as a dumping site for heaps of polythene, plastic, paper, and medical waste. They said despite repeated notifications to the authorities, no substantial action has been taken.

Shabir Ahmad, another resident, warned of the potential outbreak of communicable diseases due to the filthy conditions. He said some locals continue to dispose of waste into the canal and have transformed it into a hazardous site.

The canal banks have become infested with wild cannabis plants, which poses another challenge to the residents, Ahmad said.

Officials said the remaining portion of the canal will be cleaned this year. They urged people to refrain from dumping waste materials into the canal, saying this would have hazardous consequences

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