RAWALPINDI-Directorate of Soil and Water Conservation, Soil Conservation Department, Rawalpindi Region under water resources development programme has made hectic efforts for the development of agriculture in Potohar region.

The department has constructed total 1,369 mini dams in Potohar Region with 1,921 water ponds, 223 water storage tanks, 35 delay action dams, 4,767 dug wells, 399 shallow tube wells and 397 lift irrigation schemes.

Director Soil Conservation Department Ghulam Akbar said that the department under soil conservation programme also completed a large number of projects. The construction of 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, he said.

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 that the water accumulated in mini dams could be utilised 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 said.

Afforestation has been completed at 53,520 acres land, he said, adding that 7,30,184 acres of land was reclaimed under land levelling project during 1977-78 to 2017-18 financial years.

He further said that total 1,504 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 of land was made cultivable in the region, he said. He said that the department also managed to plant saplings on 334.50 acres land.

To a question, he said that earlier, a mini dam had been constructed on 40 acres of land. He said that revolutionary steps were taken for development of agriculture in the region. Ghulam Akbar said that the major problems of Potohar region were soil erosion and water runoff as most of the rain water was being wasted which was not only a big loss but also causes soil erosion at large scale.