Rising water level in famous Wular Lake puts farmer’s livelihood in danger

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At many places, paddy fields have submerged’

Sajid Raina

 Farmers residing near the Wular Lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district are facing mounting concerns as the water flow from the lake has experienced an abrupt surge over the past few days.

This unexpected rise has resulted in the submergence of their precious paddy fields, leaving them distressed and anxious about the future of their agricultural endeavors.

“For generations, the farmers from Zurimanz, Kanbathi, ghat, Ashtangoo and Kehneusa areas of the district have relied on the fertile lands surrounding Wular Lake to cultivate their primary crop, paddy. However, the sudden increase in water flow has caught them off guard, presenting a grave threat to their livelihoods and potentially impacting the food food security,” a group of worried farmers told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

Bashir Ahmad, a seasoned farmer who has cultivated paddy near Wular Lake for over three decades, expressed his distress, stating, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis. The surge in water flow from Wular Lake has inundated our paddy fields, causing irreparable damage. Our hopes for a bountiful harvest have been shattered, and we fear the economic repercussions that lie ahead.”

Another farmer, Fatima Begum stated, “Our lives revolve around farming, and this sudden calamity has left us devastated. Our entire year’s hard work has gone to waste, and we are left grappling with uncertainty and financial losses. We urge the authorities to intervene swiftly and support us during this difficult time.”

The surge in water flow from Wular Lake is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas and increased water inflow from surrounding streams and rivers.

The farmers have appealed to the Bandipora district administration and the irrigation department for urgent assistance. They are seeking support in the form of financial aid to recover from their losses, provision of alternative farming opportunities, and long-term infrastructure development to prevent similar incidents in the future

Meanwhile, authorities have dispatched teams to assess the extent of the damage and explore feasible solutions. They are working in collaboration with experts in agriculture, irrigation, and environmental conservation to devise strategies that will assist the affected farmers and prevent future occurrences.

The Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmad said that they are closely monitoring the situation from our control room and disaster management room. “Currently, the water level remains below the danger threshold. Moreover, recent dredging activities in the lake have enhanced its water capacity. We have already requested the relevant department to inspect the bends surrounding the lake,” he said.

He also said that the flood management teams are fully prepared and equipped to handle any potential challenges

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