SRINAGAR: Farmers residing near the Wular Lake in Bandipora district of north Kashmir are grappling with mounting concerns due to a sudden surge in water flow from the lake. This unexpected rise has led to the submersion of their valuable paddy fields, leaving them distressed and uncertain about the future of their agricultural pursuits.

Traditionally, farmers from Zurimanz, Kanbathi, Ghat, Ashtangoo, and Kehneusa areas of the district have relied on the fertile lands surrounding Wular Lake to cultivate their primary crop, paddy. However, the unforeseen increase in water flow has caught them off guard, posing a significant threat to their livelihoods and potentially impacting food security, according to a group of concerned farmers who spoke to local news gatherer KNO.

Bashir Ahmad, a farmer with over three decades of experience in paddy cultivation near Wular Lake, expressed his distress, saying, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis. The surge in water flow has inundated our paddy fields, causing irreparable damage. Our hopes for a fruitful harvest have been shattered, and we fear the economic consequences that lie ahead.”

Fatima Begum, another farmer, added, “Our lives revolve around farming, and this sudden calamity has left us devastated. Our year’s hard work has gone to waste, and we are grappling with uncertainty and financial losses. We urge the authorities to swiftly intervene and support us during this difficult time.”

The surge in water flow from Wular Lake is attributed to a combination of factors, including heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas and increased water inflow from surrounding streams and rivers.

The affected farmers have appealed to the Bandipora district administration and the irrigation department for immediate assistance. They are seeking financial aid to recover from their losses, alternative farming opportunities, and long-term infrastructure development to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In response, authorities have dispatched teams to assess the extent of the damage and explore viable solutions. Collaborating with experts in agriculture, irrigation, and environmental conservation, they aim to devise strategies that will assist the affected farmers and prevent future occurrences.

The Deputy Commissioner of Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmad, assured that the situation is closely monitored from the control room and disaster management room. He stated, “Currently, the water level remains below the danger threshold. Moreover, recent dredging activities in the lake have increased its water capacity. We have requested the relevant department to inspect the bends surrounding the lake.” Dr. Ahmad also highlighted the preparedness of flood management teams to handle any potential challenges.

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