Data Gathered Date: 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 10:45

Mazar-e-Sharif (PAN): Confronting with a host of problems, the residents of Balkh complain of rampant corruption in government departments, shortage of irrigation water, massive seasonal floods, and the illegal occupation of public land by influential people. 
A number of farmers of different districts of the province said that in the wake of shortage of water, half of their land goes barren every year.
Sultan Baee, a farmer from the Shahab Afghania village of Balkh told Pajwhok Afghan News that his entire province is in grip of eternal problem regarding shortage of irrigation water.
The farmers, he said wait the entire year for seasonal rains and snow in an apparent attempt to sow crops, adding but the authorities concerned never bothered to think about the alternative solutions to the problem.
Haji Noorullah, a resident of Balkh said that water shortage forces him every year to leave his agriculture land barren. He says that every year he manages to cultivate only 35 acres of his total 80 acres of land and this the problem being faced by most of the farmers.
Katib Shams, head of the provincial directorate of the agriculture and livestock while admitting water shortage for irrigation purposes, said that agriculture land in the Balkh needs around 400 cubic meters water per second. He informed that only 35 cubic meters water is being managed currently for the purpose from the rivers.
He admitted that the government direly needs to store the rain water to further use for irrigating the crops, adding however, that the decision to be taken in this connection is pending with the central government.
Following a grim reminder, the residents of Sholgar, Kishindi and Charkint Districts complain about the fierce floods that inflict men and material losses in the area and inundating and eroding cultivable land every year.
Only the current year, floods left eight people dead in Sholgar, five in Kishindi and another one in Charkint Districts while six other were missing in the former two districts.
In addition to that, floods washed away thousands of houses and damaged ready crops cultivated on around 5,000 acres of land.
Hayatullah Khan, a resident of Sholgar District told Pajwhok Afghan News that the districts in Balkh had to face damages in the backdrop of absence of protection fences. He said had the government built protection fences then the damages could have been averted. 
The nomads in Balkh complain that warlords have occupied their pasture, and created multiple problems for them.
The Nomads’ Council Member Mullah Tazagul told Pajhwok Afghan News that his tribe has their 30,000 acres of pastures on the outskirts of Alberz Mountains, adding that powerful warlords are not allowing their cattle into the land that they have occupied for years.
He said that he has a herd of 1,000 sheep and he is forced to settle on both sides of the road between Sancharak and Mazar-i-Sharif in Sholgar locality. He complained though the warlords do not have their cattle to use the pastures but they are forcefully cultivating on the occupied land.
He said that the warlords occupied their land because of their political background and influence, adding that he knows all the land grabbers.
Mohammad Farooq, in charge of Nomads’ Affairs in Balkh told Pajhwok Afghan News that they know well the individuals that have occupied their land, adding but a council has been established by Balkh authorities to resolve the nomads’ problems.   
Complaining about the administrative corruption, the resident of Mazar-i-Sharif’s fourth municipality district Ahmad Khalid told Pajhwok Afghan News that if corruption in the government departments could not be discouraged then it tends to derail the process of good governance.
He went on to say that corruption in various government departments on daily basis would further widen the gulf between the government and public.
However, head of oversight and anti corruption provincial department while admitting saga of corruption in government departments held out assurances that hectic efforts are on by the government to stop corruption in government institutions.
Shamsullah Jawed told Pajhwok Afghan News that corruption is the leading and serious problem to be tackled that has engulfed the entire country and the province of Balkh has its share in prospering of corruption. He reassured that serious efforts are on to discourage corruption from the provincial administrations.