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Employment in Thar Coalfields on Priority Basis

Mr Qasim Siraj Soomro, the PPP MPA from Parkar region of Tharparkar and the parliamentary secretary on health has revealed that out of 1600 doctors selected on the domicile of Tharparkar district only 33 percent were working in Tharparkar district despite of the fact that Sindh government was offering Rs 150,000 per month both in salary and hard allowance as an extra incentive so that they could better serve the people in the desert district . Mr Soomro was speaking during the Development Dialogue Learning and Sharing with Community Organisations organised by Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) here on Friday.

He said that such approaches from the educated class of Thar was very disappointing gesture and asked the people try to keep abreast with the changing circumstances by realizing their respective responsibilities towards their heartland. He said expenditure of the government of Sindh on curative health was Rs 32 billion every year which could be saved by focusing on preventive health methods . ” The prime causes and factors behind more than 18 deadly diseases and common infections are the use of unhygienic water which can be averted by simple home based solutions” he added. He said that the PPP government in Sindh over the years had done a lot to improve the healthcare system in the district and more sincere efforts were being made to provide the all required facilties in each town and big village across the district.

Speaking on the occasion PPP MPA Rana Hamir Singh described Thar as the ‘golden desert’ with huge rich natural resources and with enough human workforce.” ‘The entire desert region during every wet year produces more enough quantity of organic food items which could be exported to other countries to earn the sustainable livelihood for the poor people of Thar , he said.

Referring to interfaith harmony Mr Singh said that the people of Tharparkar were the custodians of noble and high human values which had evolved through experience of folk wisdom, mutual respect and tolerance for the past many centuries. He said that much still needed to be done to achieve the targets and to provide the much-awaited relief to the people rain-dependent arid zone of the country.

Dr Sono Khangharani referred to research which was undertaken by TRDP swayback in 2004 on the possible bad impacts of mining on local communities. “Had the major recommendations of the report been implemented the local communities of Tharparkar would have greatly benefited substantially in the course of 15 year” he added. Dr Sono said that Ironically the local people had been given too little to earn their livelihood adding he stressed upon the sustainable policies and plans in order to bring the real change in the lifestyle of Tharis.

Dr Allah Nawaz Samoo, CEO of TRDP said, wage labour remained the major source of livelihood for people of Thar. ” During last thirty years the poor people from Thar are forced to do cheap labour in cotton and sugarcane fields of irrigated areas of the province” he added and said that .with the setup of coal based industrial projects, people of Thar were expecting increase in their wages with more modern skills and the shift from agriculture to power generation industry.” he remarked. “Unfortunately, this did not happen, and local people seem to have missed an opportunity so terribly and thus failed to create a middle class that can bridge equality and bring prosperity in the region” he added. Dr Samoo maintained that people of Thar with the discovery of huge reserves were dreaming to have had the brighter future for them and their future generations.

Ms Fatima Bai, a local activist from Chhachhro, shared experience of women’s organisations in campaigns against early marriage in the remote villages of Chhachhro. Referring to the resilience of women of Thar, she said they emerged stronger after every drought as they learned how to face the drought which was not always the same in its impacts on both human and livestock of the desert region.

Nadir Gul Barech, the COO PPAF highlighted that the organisation was supporting community organisations as a grass root movement of development to alleviate poverty in different regions of the country. . He said the availability of community resource persons increased outreach of services and ensured participatory planning. He said that with the active participation of the people from different walks of life could bring positive and far reaching effects in achieving the goals.

Mr Irshad of PPAF emphasized the need of integrating community organisations with the local government system so that common people could properly benefit and improve their lifestyle and get rid of the vicious cycle of poverty. Mr Mohammad Nawaz Sohoo, the DC Tharparkar said that the digitization was a big opportunity to connect artisans and products of Thar with mainstream markets adding he said that it was the responsibility of every organisation to show the beautiful aspects of Thar. Naseer Mohammad Nizamani, the chairperson of TRDP said, in the wake of mega projects in Thar people had had significant change. ” This dialogue provides a platform to define challenges, opportunities and the way ahead,” he added.

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