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Protests flare as Kashmir village residents voice water supply fears over pipeline project

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Suhail Dar

The residents of Panzath village in Qazigund located in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district staged a protest against government plan to lay control over the sole source of water, irrigating hundreds of kanals of land.

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Previously, the department had launched two pipeline projects that have not succeeded, locals told The Kashmiriyat.

The local residents rejecting the new pipeline project said that it is an unjust interference while suggesting that without prolonging the dispute, the department must spare the spring and work out ways to supply water from the nearby defunct dam.

Residents said that they rely on spring for usage and fear for a complete shortage of water, especially during winters, as the spring water is only available for 6 months.

“The water discharge in the stream is not a lot and the limited discharge the spring has is used by hundreds of villages for irrigational and drinking purposes,” a local Bashir Ahmed said.

He said that the new pipeline project aims to draw water from its discharge point which would leave thousands of families without water. “This can lead to severe food crisis in the region as our fields would get dry. The water cannot be provided to even one extra house considering its limited discharge,” Bashir Ahmed told The Kashmiriyat.

“If they go ahead with this project, we will have to beg for food. This is sheer injustice to us, we seek justice”, another protesting local said.

The concerned department refused to meet public demands citing reasons, apparently unacceptable to the public.

Rafiq Ahmed Bhat, assistant executive engineer, Qazigund, spoke to The Kashmiriyat on the issue and said that the water discharge was enough to cater needs of several areas.

“We proposed a water supply scheme under the Jal Jeevan Mission, and our service reservoir is located in Drinan. The issue is that the level we have raised from Drinan is slightly lower than the dam level, posing a technical problem”, he said

If water was to be raised directly from the dam, a pumping station would be necessary, leading to heightened energy consumption, he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Azadi Times staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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