In water-starved Kandi, farmers now turn to fountain irrigation

The state's kandi (sub-mountainous) zones have perennially faced water shortage for irrigation. The government has now decided to tackle the problem through drip or fountain irrigation. A pilot project in this regard is all set to be implemented in the Talwara kandi region in Hoshiarpur district.

A Punjab government team recently visited the Sundernagar region in Himachal Pradesh (HP), where 2,400 hectares of land is being provided water through drip irrigation.

Agricultural experts from Punjab are now working on the final report of the initiative while the National Agricultural Bank of Rural Development (NABARD) has already sanctioned Rs 31 crore for the project.

If all goes well, then around 1,800 hectares of land, upstream of the kandi canal at Talwara in Mukerian sub-division, will be under the project.

Water will be lifted from the kandi canal and a distribution centre and pump will be installed for every two hectares, which will irrigate the land through drip irrigation.

Dr B S Sidhu, agricultural advisor to the Punjab government, confirmed that the pilot project was at the initial stage and that a detailed project report (DPR) is being prepared. "If it comes up, then it will be a boon for the state as such projects have great potential to save our underground water," he added.

At present, water needs, in the kandi areas, are met through deep tubewells but they are a cause for concern as underground water table has reached a critical stage in the state.

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)'s report revealed that this year 18 blocks in Punjab have been banned from digging new bores. This is in addition to the 92 blocks — of the total 137 such blocks in Punjab — having already been listed as 'dark zones' in Punjab due to over exploitation of underground water.

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