ALOR SETAR, May 11 (Bernama) — The Kedah state government has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) and the National Security Council (MKN) to focus on the issue of a canal bund collapse at the Central canal belonging to the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) on Monday.
Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the country’s food security would be affected if the collapsed bunds were not immediately repaired.
He said the collapse could affect paddy cultivation in an area of 13,350 hectares which produces 66,750 tonnes of paddy involving more than 40,000 farmers.
“It is now the season to allow water to enter the paddy fields and the collapse prevents water from flowing into certain areas. So, repair works need to be done in the next two weeks, otherwise, more than 13,000 hectares of paddy fields will be affected,” he said at a press conference after the executive council meeting at Wisma Darul Aman here today.
He said the issue needed to be addressed so that a stronger and more suitable structure could be built to ensure that the incident does not recur.
“This involves national food security, that’s why they need to pay attention because the cost to build this stronger structure is much higher than the initial estimate of normal repairs which cost between RM1.5 to RM1.8 million,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Sanusi said, as for now, efforts are focused on increasing water in the canal so that it can return to a sufficient level to enable the affected water treatment plants (LRA) to resume operation.
He said this was to ensure the water supply problem in the affected areas could be quickly resolved.
“After it is completed, we will focus on measures to pump water into paddy fields. To date, a total of 38,500 user accounts are still affected because the LRA in Pokok Sena is still not operational due to the incident while the Jenun Lama LRA is only operating at 70 per cent capacity due to internal electrical system problems,” he said, adding that it is expected to be completed in stages soon.
In the 12.15 pm incident on Monday, a MADA irrigation canal bund near Pokok Sena collapsed causing raw water in the canal to decrease, resulting in water supply disruption involving more than 30,000 Syarikat Air Darul Aman (SADA) user accounts.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency