CHITRAL: Two houses were washed away and wheat and barley crops as well as apple orchards over vast tracts of land in Khot village of Upper Chitral were inundated by water when Ra Zhoi canal developed fissures in its structure.

The water flooded the central part of the village and it took more than an hour to stop the flow of water by diverting it to the stream, which formed the origin of the canal.

Mir Kamal, a villager, told this correspondent that the fault developed because proper desiltation of the canal had not been carried out in early spring season as the residents mostly confined themselves to their homes fearing contracting coronavirus.

He said that due to its lowering capacity the canal could not withstand the pressure exerted by the large volume of water, resulting in appearance of cracks in the wall at many places.

He claimed that the villagers had suffered heavy losses due to inundation of their crops by water.

He said that the centuries-old canal was one of its own kind in Chitral, irrigating areas of the Khot union council. He said that provincialisation of the canal had been a longstanding demand of the residents.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020