The Directorate of Soil Conservation Punjab Rawalpindi Region under ‘Punjab Kissan Package’ and its normal programme constructed 102 mini dams in Potohar Region during last two years with 201 water ponds, 39 water storage tanks, 148 gabion spur and 28 earthern bunds.
Talking to APP, Director Soil Conservation Department Malik Ghulam Akbar informed that total 1504 structures including 337 Gully Plugging, 353 Water Disposal Outlets and 298 Retaining Walls were constructed in the region during last two financial years, 2016-17 and 2017-18. Nearly 80 percent subsidy was given to the farmers for the construction of all these schemes, he added.
Due to the water reservoirs and soil erosion controlling structures nearly 32,190 acres land was made cultivable in the region, he informed.
The construction of the mini dams and water ponds has also developed positive environmental effects. The underground water table is rising up with more employment opportunities for the people.
Fish and cattle farming businesses are now flourishing in the region. The mini dams and water bonds are used to divert water for irrigation and other purposes he said adding, the water accumulated in mini dams can be utilized for vegetable and fruit cultivation.
Fish farming was also introduced in the region which has become an additional source of income for the farmers. All interventions of soil and water conservation are benefiting the farmers of the region.
He informed that the department also managed to plant saplings on 334.50 acres land.
To a question he informed that earlier, the department had constructed over 1200 mini dams in the region. A mini dam is constructed on 40 acre land. He said, revolutionary steps were taken for development of agriculture in the region.
Ghulam Akbar said that the major problems of Potohar region are soil erosion and water runoff as most of the rain water is being wasted which is not only a big loss but also causes soil erosion at large scale.
To cope with the situation, various steps were taken under ‘Kissan Package,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Director Water Management Rawalpindi told APP that Potohar region is facing severe shortage of water and the situation necessitated efficient irrigation system like drip and sprinkler systems, adding, the department was providing 60% subsidy on drip and sprinkler irrigation system. Drip irrigation system has 90 to 95 percent efficiency and sprinkler irrigation system saves 60 to 70% water as compared to traditional irrigation system, he added.
Drip system has helped irrigate over 4443 acres while 1090 acres land was covered through sprinkler irrigation system installed during last two years.
Water management department was also providing 80 percent subsidy to the farmers for installation of solar system which is an alternative source of energy. It is economical, effective and environment friendly technology, he added.
He further said, the department was striving to promote tunnel farming in the region and 50 percent subsidy was being provided to the farmers for installing tunnels to produce off season vegetables and fruits. At present, over 100 acre land is under tunnel farming in Potohar region and off season quality products are being produced.
Agriculture Department Punjab had taken revolutionary steps for promoting Agriculture in Potohar region which has a different environment and soil from other areas of the province, he said.—APP