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Farmers to hunger strike against Khuga dam failure

Farmers to hunger strike against Khuga dam failure
By Alex Guite

CHURACHANDPUR: Khuga Dam Right Side Canal Farmer Association (KDRSCFA) has stated that they will be launching an indefinite strike in protest against the lack of water supply in their paddy fields.
The association today called upon media personnel of Churachandpur to express the grievances or difficulties faced by farmers due to the lack of water supply with the season for plantation of crops knocking right at the door. And, the media personnel were taken on a tour of the canal site which have been virtually left abandoned for years and were plagued by landslides and collapses of construction works which have led to the stoppage of the flow of water right 3km away from the intake point. The water supply from the canal is the lifeline of more than 500 acres of paddy fields for more than 150 farmers in the vicinity of Misau Lahvom village.

After the showing the collapsing portions of the canal and the dried-up fields to the media personnel, chairman of KDRSCFA, Seikhopau Misao stated that they have repeatedly petitioned the authorities concerned including the CM, IFCD minister and the CE of the department concerned but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. “So, we have no other options left but to stage an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow,” he said adding that the need to call for such measures was due to the apathetic attitude of the government.
Seikhopau Misao along with several farmers had congregated today at the collapsed canal point which lies between Baklui and Saipum village. The collapsed point was more than 30 metres long and around 15 metres in depth and it was located at about a distance of 30 km away from the water intake point of the canal which was also the of the road for water supply to pass through.
The farmers also stated that they had tried to fix the problem on their own but it was beyond their capacity. “What we want now is the State government to step in and fix the problem,” they said adding that all details along with pictures have already been submitted to the department concerned.
It may be mentioned here considering the overall situation from ground zero level on the issue of the Khuga Dam right canal, even if the government intervenes now, it will still take a long time as all the fields have been tilled and in desperate want of water. The only viable solution is the installation of a huge pipe across the collapse canal points.  And even then, the farmers are sceptical that the government will redress their grievances in time as there has been no acknowledgement yet; and upon seeing the conditions of the canal, it is likely that the many hundred acres of paddy fields downstream will be adversely affected as depending on rainwater was out of question.

The concern and the grief of the farmers is while there is plenty of water at Khuga Dam, the non-maintenance of the Canal along with the apathy of the government, it is likely that the paddy- harvests will be null unless certain farmers have the ability to get water supper supply through other means which is sure to be quite a difficult task.
In the meantime, it was also found out today that the farmers had tried to fixed the worse portion  of the collapsed canal by employing woods and erecting a wooden structure that was not practicable as the damage was so huge which could not  be fixed without the intervention of the government.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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