Assistant district officer of Jhajjar, Rathan Singh, explains how the network of sub-surface and surface drains are used to carry away the saline groundwater outside Wazirpur village. Some of the surface drains are part of the natural rainwater drainage system, others were constructed at the time the Jawahar Lal Nehru Canal reached the area, to drain out excess rainwater Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
The brackish groundwater has risen in Jhajjar and other districts in the state due to paddy cultivation. The saline water has destroyed many hectares of farmland. The fields can no longer be cultivated, but are ploughed nonetheless before monsoons to let the rains wash away some of the salinity Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
A farmer rests on the wall along the Yamuna link drain in Jhajjar Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
Despite scanty rains this year, waterlogging is a concern across Haryana. Many fields, like the one seen here in Pamdra village, have standing water even in October. Visible here are attempts to reduce waterlogging through the bio-drainage scheme of Haryana government. Under this scheme, farmers were encouraged to grow a clone variety of eucalyptus—a tree that absorbs a lot of ground water—around their farms. But the saline water killed the saplings sowed earlier this year Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
Mehar Singh Jhakkar and Ajit Singh Jhakkar discuss the impact of paddy cultivation in the region. Both believe it has caused more damage than benefit for the farmers of this regionRead also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
A cyclist on the road from Jhajjar district headquarters to Salhawas block. The Union government had sanctioned four projects between 2007-08, costing Rs 19.06 crore, to reclaim 4,600 ha of land in Haryana. The agriculture department says 3,325 ha has been reclaimed, but all that is visible is waterlogged fields Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
A field of Munsa Village in Jhajjar district where the arhar (pigeon pea) that could not be sown this year due to the waterlogging and soil salinity. The arhar crop destroyed earlier this year can be seen in the backdrop Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
Crores of rupees have been spent to reclaim land. Seen here is the Wazirpur-link drain—one of the drains to carry away the saline water collected through sub-surface pipes installed in fields. Haryana Operational Pilot Project (HOPP), is one of the schemes in which sub-surface pipes are installed to drain out the saline groundwater from the fieldsRead also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
In Jhajjar district, water logging and soil salinity have damaged approximately 2,000 ha of land—a result of the increasing trend of paddy cultivation in Haryana. Seen here is an abandoned field in Wazirpur village in Jhajjar district. The brackish groundwater that rose to the surface has left a layer of salt and rendered this piece of land unfit for cultivation Read also: Khap panchayat bans paddy Photographs by: Meeta Ahlawat
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