The deadline given by President Asif Ali Zardari to the Sindh government for removing encroachments along the province’s waterways (dhoras) passed on Saturday without having much of an impact.
The federal government had arranged a loan of Rs12 billion from the Asian Development Bank for the provincial government to plug breaches along the River Indus and strengthening of its dykes. According to the irrigation department, Rs637 million were spent in Nawabshah district, Rs268 million in Sanghar, Rs828 million in Mirpurkhas, Rs558 million in Badin, Rs34 milion in Tando Mohammad Khan, Rs50 in Thatta and Rs124 million in Tharparkar.
However, a recent survey report released by the Peoples Accountability Commission on Flood, which is a forum of flood affected communities and volunteers, pointed out that waterways in Badin, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Tando Mohammad Khan still contained encroachments. Dhoro Puran, a natural drain from Jhudo to Tando Bago taluka of Badin, had a capacity of draining 20,000 cusecs of floodwater. However, only 300 cusecs of water could currently pass through it. The accountability commission’s Sikandar Brohi added that towns and buildings have been constructed over waterways in Mirpurkhas and Badin district.
Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharijo, however, claimed that nearly 80 per cent of the encroachments had been cleared.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.
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