300 deep wells being dug up to help poor growers
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The police chief for southern Kandahar province, Gen. Abdul Raziq, has launched the process for digging up solar wells for poor farmers.
The process was kicked off in Daman and Dand districts, where some 300 deeps wells would be dug and a solar irrigation system established to help growers.
Police spokesman Zia Durrani said Gen. Raziq wanted to provide irrigation facilities to farmers through digging deep wells in areas where agriculture was hit by lack of water.
He said the solar irrigation system would be installed on the wells to irrigate farmlands. Currently, some 300 wells are being dug, a process that will be expanded to other areas in future.
Durrani said the project would cost $1.2 million to be paid by the Kandahar police chief and local businessmen. Police has set up a team that will identify areas and farmers faced with scarcity of water.
The police spokesman hoped with the implementation of the project, growers would be able to cultivate their lands and provide their families with food and fruits.
A key objective behind the project is to provide people with work and boost local agriculture. Agriculture Director Hafezullah Syedi called the step beneficial, saying the project had been shared with his department and was being implemented in close coordination.
He said vegetable prices had gone up after Pakistan closed the main border crossings at Chaman and Torkham. The project would encourage people to increase domestic produce, he hoped.
Many residents and growers from Dand and Daman districts hailed the initiative, saying they were unable to rebuild and irrigate their parched lands due to poverty.
A grower from the Deh Bagh area of Dand, Nazar Mohammad, said though some areas were irrigated by Delhi Dam, yet the water was far from enough and many farmlands could not be irrigated.
He said as many Kandaharis, especially the Dand residents, were dependent on farming, but the growers could not prepare their lands for cultivation.
He is optimistic the digging of wells would enable many farmers to irrigate their lands and cultivate vegetables and fruits -- a source of earnings.
Another resident of the Marwandi Manda locality of Daman, Dad Mohammad, also welcomed the step. He said the wells should be set up for the farmers who were really suffering from poverty and faced with a shortage of water.
He said Daman, compared to other districts, was home to large tracts of lands, whose flourishing couldn’t be carried out by the farmers.
Farmlands and gardens in six districts of Kandahar -- Shah Walikot, Arghandab, Zherai, Panjwai, Maiwand, Dand and Daman -- were irrigated by Delhi Dam. But the problem is that 40 percent of the dam had been silted.
Earlier, the dam had the capacity to store 500 million cubic metres of water, but recently it slumped to 300 million cubic metres of water.
As 80 percent of Kandahar inhabitants rely on farming, they consistently ask the government to raise the dam’s height and also construct new facilities in other districts.
The Delhi Dam wall’s height would be raised to eight metres and six other assisting small dams constructed at a cost of $308 million--of which $38 million was supposed to be provided by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the rest by USAID.
Initial work on the $38 million project was to be be launched by MoF. But MoF failed to do so as it was unable to arrange that much money. Consequently, USAID delayed the project.
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