Tharis having seen no light at the end of tunnel have started migrating towards the barrage areas of the province in search of the fodder for their cattle heads, the mainstay of their economy.
According to the details gathered by this reporter from certain villages of seven talukas of the desert district , the several thousand owners of the cows, sheep and goats having found no relief in shape of the fodder, the proper vaccination for their animals, and water in their respective villages have started to move towards the barrage areas for the survival of the livestock. The people talking to the media persons deplored that they were forced to migrate to the barrage areas of , Mirpurkhas, Badin, Umerkot, Sujawal , Thatta, Tando Mohammad Khan, Sanghar, Tando Allahyar and other districts of the province with their livestock in search of fodder and the drinking water with the advent of the harsh summers in the desert region after they failed to even get their animals vaccinated by the officials of the livestock department.
The people of the different areas of the desert district said that the officials of the livestock department posted in Tharparkar despite the heavy budgetary allocations had neither the comprehensive policy nor the willingness to provide any relief to the owners of over 80 million livestock of the desert either in the drought years or before the onset of monsoon season to protect the livestock from the looming dangers of the mysterious diseases. They deported the fact that they were always left at the mercy of vagaries of climate change and its terrible impacts and subsequently they had to migrate towards the barrage areas to save their livestock. They heaped scorns on ‘the criminal silence’ of the officials towards their plight and accused them of making hefty amounts by exploiting their hardships. “This is grave irony that no mechanism or policy has been devised under which the unavoidable trend of annual migration is minimized with the provision of the required relief at our respective villages” added Soomar Samejo , who was moving towards the barrage area of Mirpurkhas with the herd of cows from his village near Islamkot town.
Samejo went on to complain that their livestock were not being properly vaccinated at any point of Thar when they were forced to move towards other areas with weak and feeble animals after their stocks of the fodder exhausted and the water table of their wells went further down and got contaminated. “Over six hundred RO plants which were installed by Sindh government in the various towns and villages few years to provide safe and clean potable water have ceased to function after their operators and other workers shut down these costly plant s due to non-payment of their salaries and other dues and we are again forced to drink the same contaminated water from the wells” added Mohammad Moosa Hajam from Diplo area.
Hajam said that and his family members since centuries had been migrating towards the barrage areas with the cattle heads with no permanent solution of their functionaries of the successive governments to stem the rot. Other people, who were seen moving towards the barrage areas had the similar tales and stories to share and held rulers of the successive government for their never ending trials and tribulations. They complained that due to terrible lack of the required facilities in their respective areas they had to face the displacement every year despite the fact that nearly 85 per cent residents were only economically dependent on their livestock. Sharif Loond another Thari from a village near Kaloi town lamented that they were run out of the fodder to feed their cows and wanted to move to another barrage area of Badin district but the officials of the livestock department were not ready to provide them with the vaccines for their sick cattle heads. According to the available details there are only 30 veterinary doctors against the existing posts of 90 in all seven taluka headquarters to provide even the vaccines during the outbreak of the viral infections among 80 million livestock of the rain-dependent arid zone of the country.
All the projects to promote the breeding of the animals, save them from various infections and diseases and to preserve their milk during the wet years have hit the snags allegedly due to the corrupt practices and the subsequent ‘criminal silence’ of the high-ups of the Sindh government. The experts, who are working on the chronic issues of the desert region said that the lack of willingness on the part of the concerned government functionaries was adding insult to the injury. ” The officials who get lucrative positions in the livestock department after giving hefty amounts in bribes will never work for the betterment of the system and to stem the rot in the desert region ” they added and asked the hih-ups of Sindh government to come up with the mechanized plans to provide relief to the people of Tharparkar in the wake of the worsening situations.
When this reporter time and again tried to contact the officials of the livestock department to seek their views on the allegations of the residents and deteriorating conditions in the desert district in the wake of the rising temperatures , the outbreak of the diseases and the depleting resources to feed the livestock nobody could be contacted for the official version. ” We have been directed by the high-ups not to share the details and data with the media persons” they added and said that the vaccination drives were carried out in certain areas few weeks back after the media highlighted the issue of the deaths of the animals due to the outbreak of the viral injections and diseases in some of the areas of the district ” added and officials who wished not to be named.