“Dadi Canal is to the Dochnipora what Indus was to the Harrapan Civilization and Nile to the Egyptian Civilization”
he Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is situated in the subtropical and sub- temperate latitudes hence is characterized with great variations in terrain and altitudes. Consequently, it experiences the extremes in the mean monthly and annual range of temperatures. The distributional pattern and the total amount of precipitation received is also erratic.
The scorching heat in the plain of Jammu Division and the uncertainty in the behaviour of summer monsoon in the Valley of Kashmir compel the farmers to irrigate their kharif and rabi crops along with the horticulture farms frequently to get the good agricultural and horticultural returns.
Irrigation, the process of artificial supply of water to crops, vegetables and fruits is an age old practice in the union territory. The farmers are quite conscious of the significance of irrigation as a means to achieve an effective break-through in the development of agriculture and horticulture. It is reflected in the eagerness with which some of the canals ( Kuls) were constructed by the cultivators in the past and now the government too is paying good attention towards the construction and maintenance of canals in order to uplift the major section of the society who are mainly dependent with the agriculture and horticulture.
We have a number of canals in kashmir division for the irrigation purposes among them some are more famous like the Zainagir, Martand and Dadi canal.The Dadi Canal takes its water from the River Lidder at Liver, Pahalgam. It is 19 Kilometer’s long and irrigates thousands of acres of land of the villages of Kathsu, Budroo Sakhras, Loiseer, Srigufwara, Viddy, Darigund, Hitigam, Mahind, Nowshera, Sirhama, Aupzan, Katoo, Sheetipora, Khiram, Shalgam, Wagham, Marhama, Dado, Haari etc.of the Pahalgam and Bijbehara Sub- divisions of the Anantnag District and a few villages of Pulwama district.
The Dadi canals is not only the irrigation canal to the area but also a lifeline which is very crucial to its existence and identity. Besides the irrigation canal, it is the source of many water schemes through which a major chunk of population gets the drinking water, the main source of water for pesticide and fungicide sprays of apple fields through out the year, a beautiful tourist attraction and the place of great solace in the hot summer for the local people. The Dadi Canal is to the most of the villages of Dochnipora, what the Indus was to the Harappan Civilization and Nile to the Egyptian Civilization. It is this canal which has formed/ turned the fortunes of the people of this area. We are witnessing a great upward trend in the human development index of the those villages which are associated with this rich canal. Now such amount of importance has achieved by this canal that so many lift irregation plants have been positioned on this canal through which more and more land is being irregated.
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The environmental pollution has become a cause of concern at various levels of human existence. The water pollution is making its presence felt more and more. The quality of water in the canals has deteriorated drastically over the years due to various reasons. Same is the story of this beautiful Dadi Canal. The water of the canal is highly polluted due to letting of sewage/sullage and agricultural/ horticultural runoff carrying toxic chemicals, dumping of garbage and dead animals and human defecation along the canal banks.Polluted water consists of industrial discharged effluents, sewage water, rain water pollution and has adverse effects on land, water and its biotic and abiotic component.
untreated sewage effluents are released into the canal. Downstream, the untreated water is used for drinking, bathing and washing, resulting in serious human infections and illness. Many of the agricultural and horticultural chemicals including nitrogen fertilizer contaminate aquatic eco-systems through leaching and run-off, resulting in the eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems and other
We are well aware that the water pollution has been the cause of large number of diseases like arthritis, diarrhea, gastro enteritis, skin allergies, stomach pain, malaria, food poisoning, eye diseases, jaundice and pediatric problems besides the harmful impact on livestock, cropping pattern and fruit quality.
The Dadi canal runs and stream down through the mountains and horticultural farms and is mostly at distance from the human habitations. It makes its way through the habitations only at few places and those are the more vulnerable area where the canal is witnessing more and more pollutants and pollution. The canal gives a different look, in these days, at most of the places, that is more of a dumping site than an irregation canal. Every kind of pollutant is there in the canal right from the polythene and sanitary pads to the remains of the dead animals and birds. The canal used to be sacred for the entire population and many rituals were associated with it and it’s cleanliness. Thet enire population which is dependent on this canal for many purposes was taking due care of this canals from its inception but the modern day life is different and the canal is facing the negative effects of the modern day industrial life and human greed.
Besides the degredation of environment, the water pollution and it’s damaging image, the Dadi canal is damaged at various places, the water is chocked through cracks at many places, it has some very critical patches and it’s banks are totally encroached. The encroachment has made it more vulnerable for the deadly pollution and day in and day out its breadth is being curtailed.
Although the government has assigned the maintenance of this canal to a particular department and the department has engaged a number of workers to it but it is well known to all the people how much the department and it’s employees are concerned with the canal and it’s development. Before it is too late, it is the right time for the department to revaluate, rethink and analysis where the mission has derailed because of which the canal is losing its relevance and going to be perished soon. The department must consult defferent stakeholders of this canal like the revenue department, social forestry, Auquaf Committees, Diver assocations, environmental groups, different civil societies, fruit growers associations etc and must work in collaboration, only then we may aspire for the good of this canal in particular and the whole population of Dochnipora in general.
In addition to the concrete work, widening and cleaning, the Dadi canal needs:
a) fencing in those areas where it passes through the human habitations,
b) the sensitization of the human population who do live near to the canal,
c) the banks of the canal deserve beautification through social forestry,
d). the swege and drainage channel should be fixed in such a way that they may pass through without touching the running water of the canal.
e) complete ban on the Washing of vehicles on the banks of the canal,
f) a monitoring cell at the district level which will enhance the watch and ward and accountability of all those who are engaged with this canal.
g) the canal must have the environmental, legal and social cells who may assist the district monitoring cell in addressing the different challenges.
Although the public negligence has led to the tremendous damage to this canal but there is a famous saying that ‘better late than never’ it is the crucial time for the intelligensia of the area to raise their voice and to take note of this rising pollution and degredation of this canal and must talk this issue at various social fourms and different power corridors.
Masood Ali Mir is a freelancer and a social activist and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org