Photo by Maaz Jan

DIR, 17 July: Residents of as many as 12 villages of union council Ganori on Sunday here  protested against the poor irrigation system in their area demanding inquiry into the alleged embezzlement done in the improvement of irrigation canal project.

Led by notables and elders of their respective villages, the protesters blocked the road and chanted slogans against the local authorities for not paying any heed to their demand.

The protesters informed that six year ago, Rs60 million funds were approved by former Parliamentarian Anwar Khan to widen the existing canal. They alleged that the funds were embezzled by the officials of the irrigation department and the contractors. They said substandard materials were used in the project due to which the banks of the canal got damaged and fell into the canal disrupting the flow of water.

“The people of the area are largely dependent on agriculture and farming is the main source of their income. But for the last few years, their annual yield is badly affected due to poor irrigation system,” said Murtaza, a local farmer who was participating in the protest demonstration.

“We went from pillar to post. We approached the officials of the anti-corruption department but our voice was not heard at any forum. As a last option, we took to road,” the villager maintained.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Inayatullah, who is the elected MPA from the same constituency, visited the protesting villagers and assured to hold an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement.

Talking to TNN on the occasion Inayatullah said funds were released for the project during the previous government tenure. He revealed that the matter was referred to the anti-corruption department and an inquiry was ordered into it. As a result of the inquiry, an executive engineer was suspended.

The minister said Rs5 million were also allocated for the project from his development fund. He however, sadi the irrigation system had been disrupted and a system once disrupted, could hardly be rectified.

Inayatullah said he would meet with the Irrigation Minister Sikandar Sherpao and resolve the matter.