45 water channels okayed to boost irrigation in ICT

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23 (APP): The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Agriculture Department has approved construction of around 45 water channels aimed at boosting irrigation activities in different parts of the federal capital.

The approval has recently been given in a meeting of District Implementation Committee (DIC) of National Programme for Improvement of Water Courses and Enhancement of Command Area in Barani Areas, Director Agriculture, ICT told APP on Wednesday.

Commenting on the time-line, he said the project would be completed during the current financial year at a cost of Rs 60 million that had already been released.

Feasibility study of the sites had been conducted by the ICT Agriculture Directorate, based on the criteria given in the PC-1 of the project, he said, adding “the sites were selected keeping in view the principle of best utilization and value of money.”

The water courses, Anwar said, were part of the umbrella project prepared by the Ministry of National Food Security under the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to transform the country’s agriculture sector on modern lines and being implemented at both federal and provincial level.

The ICT administration, he said, had taken multiple initiatives to benefit the local farmers for watering their crops, besides mitigating the water shortages in the capital city.

Anwar said the DIC had also decided to re-advertise interventions like farm ponds, dug wells, solar pumping systems, plantation of fruit trees, laser land levelers and provision of fodder seed to farmers under the project titled “Enhancing Command Area in Barani Areas” owing to lukewarm response from the farmers in Covid-19 related restrictions.

He noted that Rs 42 million had been allocated for the project in the current financial year,under which farmers would be supplied water through dug wells, ponds and solar pumps. “It will help reduce farmers’ reliance on rain water to grow their crops in Barani areas of the capital.”

Director Agriculture said encouraging farmers to grow fruit trees and vegetables through provision of necessary farming was need of the hour.

Under the project, he said denizens of Islamabad would get fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods, adding such perishable commodities were transported from far-flung areas of the country which not only increased their cost but also affected the quality.

He said the campaign ‘SALAM KISSAN’ launched by DG ICT Syeda Shafaq Hashmi on the eve of Farmer Day on December 18 had got tremendous response both from Islamabad citizenry and farming community and resolved that the ICT administration would keep promoting farming interests of Islamabad at the national level.