Has become major impediment to sustainability of irrigated lands and livelihood of farmers

Seepage of water from the damaged brick-lining of Indira Gandhi (IG) Canal and Sirhind Feeder (SF) Canal has left 11 villages of Faridkot waterlogged.

The Hydrological Investigation Division of the Agriculture Department has found that 11 villages, situated near the bank of Indira Gandhi and SF canals in Faridkot district are facing waterlogging and salinisation problems due to excessive seepage of water.

The problem has emerged as a major impediment to the sustainability of irrigated lands and livelihood of farmers in Machaki Mal Singh, Ratti Rori, Qilla Nau, Daggo Romana, Dhana Romana, Fidde Kalan, Fidde Khurd, Dhimawali, Kameana and two other villages in the district.

To help farmers of these villages, the state government is exploring the possibility of developing of saline water fisheries in the area, said Kushaldeep Dhillon, MLA Faridkot.

Sources in the Agriculture Department said after the construction of Indira Gandhi Canal in 1960, the ground water table had risen from 140 ft in 1960 to the present level of about three ft in these villages. It seriously affected crop production in these villages.

As per the estimates of the Directorate of Irrigation and Power Research Institute, Punjab, there is seepage of about 1,800 cusecs from Indira Gandhi and Sirhind Feeder canals due to the damaged side and bed-lining.

Indira Gandhi and Sirhind Feeder are two parallel channels off-taking upstream of Harike Headworks.

Indira Gandhi Canal has a capacity of passing discharge of 18,500 cusecs and runs through Punjab as a carrier channel to feed Rajasthan canal system. Sirhind Feeder has varying passing discharge capacity and runs through Punjab to feed command area in the state.

Seven years ago, the state government mooted a proposal of relining of 97 km of Indira Gandhi Canal and 100 km of Sirhind Feeder Canal. It was approved by the Government of India and was to be completed in four years. But the project files are gathering dust.

An area is said to be waterlogged when the water table rises to such an extent that the soil pores in the root zone of a crop become saturated, resulting in restriction of normal circulation of air, decline in the level of oxygen and increase in the level of carbon dioxide. 

The harmful depth of the water table would depend on the type of crop, type of soil and quality of water, said Harwinder Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Faridkot.

Source: July 30, 2018, The Tribune