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Winter woes for Muktsar farmers hit by waterlogging 

Muktsar, January 13

Every winter, the woes of a large number of farmers in Muktsar district get multiplied. Travel anywhere in the district these days and you will find big patches of farmland covered with a thick white layer called ‘shora’ (efflorescence). It is because of the waterlogging that started in this particular area more than two decades ago.

Despite huge efforts and crores of rupees spent by successive state and Central governments, this problem persists and is a big cause of worry for farmers. In waterlogging-affected areas, some farmers are not even able to get one crop in a year. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at Gurdaspur on January 3 had mentioned about the waterlogging problem in Muktsar.

A few farmers said every time winter approaches, their fields turn white and their land becomes infertile. 

“However, during summers, due to percolation of water, the land becomes tillable. We have even raised the level of our land, but the problem still exists. The water evaporation goes minimal in the winters and a white layer comes up on the surface of land. This white layer is dangerous as it decays almost everything. The previous SAD-BJP government had done a lot to combat waterlogging, but the present government has not done anything,” said a farmer of Lundewala village.

A number of schools, government buildings too are bearing the brunt of waterlogging here.

Farmers said when it rained in the winter season, water does not percolate, which delayed the germination of seeds. A vast land has turned infertile and a number of farmers have made fish ponds in their once fertile land to make a living.

However, drainage officials said they had done a lot of work to check waterlogging. “A number of drains have been carved out and sub-surface drainage system had been laid in most of the affected parts of the district. Besides, the Centre has approved the relining of the Rajasthan and Sirhind feeder canals, which are one of the major causes of waterlogging in this area.”

Dalbir Singh, Superintending Engineer, Irrigation Department (Drainage wing), Gidderbaha, said, “I have assumed the charge recently, but a number of works have been done in the past that have decreased the waterlogging-affected areas sharply.”

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