BAHAWALNAGAR - Affected farmers staged a protest demonstration as about 30,000 acres of land has been eaten away by water-logging and salinity while the remaining fertile land will go the same way because of the fast spreading twin menaces.

The onslaught of the twin menaces has gained alarming momentum and engulfed not only the agricultural land but also populated area, and the lands where stagnant water stayed throughout the year are becoming barren. The situation has pushed the farmers of the affected areas on the verge of starvation as the 90 percent population of the affected areas depends solely on agriculture. Villages have been inundated with water and valuable properties have been razed to ground and the houses made of bricks are standing ruined.

Reluctant to desert their ancestral land, the dwellers of Mouza Dhari Meeru ki, Mouza Mam Raj, Mouza wazir Pura, Mouza Hasanpura, Mouza Rehmanpura Togera, Mouza Khuda Baksh Bodla, Mouza Dhab Sanateka , Mouza Kot Amin Khan, Mouza Hafiz wala, Mouza Shera Baghbanattar etc move from place to place in desperate to stay on.

The farmers staged demo to raise hues and cries against the situation. They demanded that drainage systems should be reconstructed so that water leakage from the drains could be stopped. Their representative Abdul Latif Mohal, Younis Bodla, Hafiz Sadar Din etc said that farmers of the areas were adversely affected due to water-logging and salinity.

They detailed that the twin menaces were caused by heavy rains of the last few years. But the main factor was the construction of drain canals with substandard material. They alleged that the department concerned awarded contracts to their blue-eyed contractors who committed corruption in these projects as the drains have been choked. Moreover, they said, the government departments remained failed to clean the drains for several years. Consequently the underground water level raised remarkably and eat away the fertility of the lands. Besides. The villages adjacent to the drain canals are adversely affected and water-logging has been hollowing away the foundations of houses.

In addition, scores of farmers of 3/L canal also staged demo at Head 7/R canal as 5,000 acres of their land also adversely affected from water-logging. The demonstrators including Niaz Ahmad Randhawa said that their area should be declared calamity-hit.

District Agriculture Officer Chaudhry Munir Ahmad admitted that about 30,000 acres of land has been affected by water-logging and salinity.

He said that due to  the non-cleaning of drain canal, the twin menace spread as the drains remained choked up while water leakage from the canals continued to spreading over the adjacent land and areas. He said that immediate measure should be adopted to avert any uncontrollable loss.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Engineer Irrigation Ghulam Murtaza said that estimates of loss have been made and the requisition for funds would be submitted to the higher authorities in order to get a remedy to the situation.