Sindh’s member writes to Irsa chairman for due water share

IRSA Scandal pakistan
Water gushes through the flood gates of Sri Lanka's Udawalawe tank reservoir following heavy monsoon showers on February 3, 2011. Sri Lanka's east, north and central regions have been innundated with heavy rains for the second time since last month. The island's Disaster Management Centre said floods have claimed three people, and affected some 43,000 people. AFP PHOTO/Ishara S. KODIKARA

Mr Zahid Husssin Junejo, the member of Indus River System Authority from Sindh province has written a letter to chairman of the authority requesting him not to release the water of Sindh’s share to the canals of Punjab ” I am directed to state that the withdrawals of Taunsa Barrage have been reduced tremendously , consequently discharge of downstream Taunsa Barrage has been reduced drastically from 45,447 cusecs on May 3 to mere 33, 666 cusecs on May 4.” stated the letter, the copy of which is available with this reporter .

This regulation pattern will be devastating to Sindh province, as we are already in crisis and decided to reduce Sukkur Barrage withdrawals to 70 per cent of Water Apportionment Accord 1991 allocation, the letter adds. ” Kindly note that the Kotri barrage Command is already in the crisis, where shortage is already about 46 per cent with regard to Water Accord Allocations and supplies Keenjhar Lake reservoir, which caters to domestic needs of Karachi, is in danger zone, which is to be released” the letter read. It added that the minimal requirements upstream Guddu Barrage is about 52,000 to 55,000 cusecs.

The letter stated that it was also mentioned that the T-P Link Canal had been opened without fulfilling the indent of Sindh and there was also discharge flowing downstream of Pajnand, which was drawing more than 12, 00 causes of water against the water accord allocations of 7,600 cusecs. ” Keeping in view it is stressed that TP link be immediately closed till the indent of Sindh is met with and shortage may be shared on pro rata as per water accord” added the letter.

While, the lower parts of Sindh have again been hit by the severe water crisis due to the drastic decrease in the flows of water at Kotri barrage. The reports gathered by this reporter said that most pats of Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan, Thatta and Sujawal districts have been without the adequate supplies of water even for the drinking water forcing the millions of the residents to drink the contaminated water of the lakes, wells and ponds at the risk of their lives.

The leaders of the various farmers’ organizations believe that the officials of both Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) and irrigation departments had failed to ensure the just and judicious water distribution in the canals of Kotri barrage particularly of its left bank. Mir Noor Ahmed Talpur, the chief of Save Badin Action Committee, a body formed a few years back to agitate the water crisis in Badin district, talking to this reporter held the officials responsible for the mess. ”

The officials despite the less water allocations have miserably failed to ensure the just water distribution in most of the irrigation canals and minors of the Kotri barrage” he added and demanded the removal of director Sida and other officials, who according to him, instead of providing the water as per the indents were busy in diverting the flows of water towards the lands of the influential figures even at the time people were not being provided with water for drinking in the tail-end areas of the coastal districts of Sindh. Mr Talpur deplored the fact that people living in the devastated coastal belt of Sindh were being forced to drink the water for the past many months.

He said that they were in constant contact with the leaders of various other farmers organizations to launch the effective and vigorous protest movement against an acute water shortage after Eid. He said that it was a matter of shame that officials after failing to ensure the just water distribution were issuing baseless statements to hoodwink the farming community as well other people, who were voicing their deep concerns over the aggravating situations. He said that they would not allow the officials and their beneficiaries to commit robberies to deprive them of their due share of water adding he said that the recent move by Sindh government to ban rice cultivation under the pretext of saving the irrigation water would also be resisted.

He said that banning the paddy cultivation in Badin and some other districts was nothing but a cruel joke with farmers by the functionaries of Sindh government. Mr Talpur asked the lawmakers from the districts of lower parts of Sindh to come up with a clear stance and stand with the farmers in their struggle for due shares of water. Azizullah Dero, Syed Khuda Dino Shah, Naserullah Jarwar, Abdul Ghafoor Chandio, Ameer Azad Panhwar and other leaders of the farmers and growers also endorsed the views of Mr Talpur and assured him their support to the action committee for its scheduled protest movement.

Mr Hizubullah Mangrio, the spokesperson of Sida when contacted told this reporter that all canals of Kotri barrage were facing more than 50 per cent shortage due to unavailability of the water in the system. ” We are, however, trying our best to release water in the canals as per the need of the drinking water and for the irrigation purposes in all the canals emanating from the barrage’ he added.

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