Leh still waiting for central funds to reclaim farmland
Funds promised by the Centre to help reclaim over 540 hectares of agricultural land damaged in the cloudburst that took place here over four months ago are yet to reach the local administration.
damaged in the cloudburst that took place here over four months ago are yet
to reach the local administration.
"We have proposed Rs 18 crore for restoration of farmland affected by floods. The Home Ministry has agreed in-principle for release of Rs 16.5 crore. The fund is yet to be
sanctioned," Leh deputy commissioner Tsering Angchok told a news agency.
Expeditious sanction of funds is essential to ensure that sowing of crops can take place in March next year. After tourism, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the
majority of population.
Overall, 11,000 hectares of land is under agriculture in Leh, of which 660 hectares was affected by flash-floods caused by the cloudburst. Barley, wheat and vegetables are the main crops grown in the region.
Angchok said 660 hectares of farmland was affected by the floods, out of which 540 hectares can be restored for crop cultivation after the removal of debris and boulders.
He further stated that about 120 hectares of land cannot be reclaimed, as the cost of removing debris is too high and the soil might not be fertile for crop growth even if the area was cleared.
"The restoration is going on in a slow pace in the
flood-hit farmlands. Early sanction of funds will speed up the
restoration activity and will help to prepare agricultural
land for sowing in the next season," he noted.
Angchok termed the reclamation of farm land as the next big challenge for the local administration after providing shelter to people rendered homeless by the cloudburst.
On August 6, a cloudburst caused a flash flood and mudslide that badly damaged 34 villages in the Ladakh region, killing over 130 people and leaving over 675 families