Mandi, April 19
The agriculture sector in the Lahaul valley is under threat due to adverse effects of climate change. Farmers of Tandi village say that they are facing drought-like situation in April and are fearing decline in crop production.
Working on plan to lift water
Villagers have collected money and started working on the plan to lift water from a nearby river. A JCB machine has been deployed to dig a pit close to river below the village. Along with this, we are also arranging for pumps and pipes to take water from the tank to the village. — A villager
Lahaul residents are also maintaining that after the opening of Atal Tunnel, the movement of vehicles to the Lahaul valley from Manali and Leh side has increased drastically, which has impacted the climate in the region.
Residents say that the snowfall season in Lahaul concluded in early March. This was followed by soaring temperature causing rapid snow melting, leading to not only reduced moisture content essential for agriculture but also reduced flow in water springs sources in the region.
Vikram Katoch, a resident of Tandi, said that “Cabbage and cauliflower seedlings are prepared by farmers to be transplanted to fields and peas have already been sown. In this drought-like a situation, without any facility for irrigation, farmers are concerned about transplantation of seedling on dry land and loss of their initial cost on pea seed that has already been sown.”
“Lahaul is a cold desert where farming was not possible without irrigation. Farmers here have to make do with the only cropping season in the year. In such a situation, if no irrigation facility is provided at the earliest, it may become difficult for the families to run their households,” he remarked.
“In such a dire situation, the villagers have contributed and collected money on their own and started working on the plan to lift water from a nearby river. A JCB machine has been pressed into service to dig a pit close to river below the village. Along with this, we are also arranging for pumps and pipes to transport water from the tank to the village. Till now, no help has been received from the administration even though information about the urgent need has already been conveyed,” said Rajesh Kumar, another resident.
Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that currently there was no irrigation plan for Tandi.
DC Lahaul and Spiti Neeraj Kumar said, “I received a complaint from the residents of Lahaul that they were facing drought-like situation in their agricultural land while sowing vegetable crops. Glaciers are melting rapidly and water resources are drying up.”
“Sensing the gravity of this situation, we have decided to conduct a study over climate change in this region in mid-May for which a committee has been constituted,” said the DC.