by: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
The people of Borith, a small hamlet on the bank of famous Borith Lake, some 45km from Karimabad Hunza, have sought compensation from the govern-ment for the loss they suffered due to the drought which result¬ed after the irrigation channel was damaged by the movement of a nearby glacier.
Due to the unusual movement in the Hussain/Ghulkin glacier for the last couple of years, which is source of irrigation water for the village, the residents of Borith had to dig a channel every year from the glacier for irrigation. But, in May this year the glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) wash¬ed away the irrigation channel, creating drought situation and forcing the people of the village to migrate to other pla¬ces.
Faqir Karim, a resident of Borith village, said Chief Executive of the Northern Areas Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, during his visit to the village, had prom¬ised allocation of funds for lay¬ing pipelines to ensure water supply to the village. “We submitted a proposal to the Northern Areas Power and Works Department (NAPWD) for provision of Rs700,000 but despite a lapse of four months, the authority turned down our request on the pre¬text of shortage of funds,” he added.
Amanuddin, another resident of the village, said the villagers were dependent on agriculture for livelihood but due to short¬age of water the villagers were unable to cultivate their land this year. He said they contacted vari¬ous government and non-govern¬ment organizations but their plea fell on deaf ears.
He said each household in the village was earning more than Rs30,000 only from potato but this year they even did not have potato for household consump¬tion.
Tawakal Ali, owner of a tou¬rist hotel in Borith village, said if funds were not allocated for water channel or pipes, the vil¬lagers would be unable to culti¬vate their fields in the coming season. This will completely de¬stroy the vil¬lage and will have a negative impact on its beauty as a tou¬rist spot. He said in or¬der to get drinking water a person nee¬ded to work in the glacier for eight to 12 hours on daily basis.
The cluster captain of the Focus Humanitarian, Shamsher Khan, said the drought condi¬tion had affected more than 110 kanals of cultivable land and 200 kanals of orchards and grasslands of about 17 households. Furthermore, 235 fruit trees and 247 forest trees had either completely or partially dried up, he added.
Chairman Union Council Gojal-1 Aziz Jan appealed to the government departments and donor agencies to provide funds for the laying of pipelines for water supply from the glacier to the village.
He also demanded of the re¬gion’s chief secretary, Babar Yaqub Fateh Mohammad, to rehabilitate and compensate the losses of the affected families. Click for orignal at DAWN