Despite being the largest province in Pakistan, Balochistan is treated as a pariah. This is evident through the deteriorating situation in the province. There is a lack of basic facilities such as healthcare, infrastructure, education, and communication resources. Illiteracy, injustice, oppression of women and ignorance of individual rights are just some of the prevalent evils. An estimated 88% of the population is living under high levels of deprivation.
One of the major concerns is lack of access to clean drinking water, which has also increased the likelihood of contracting diseases such as hepatitis. A recent survey has revealed that only 0.3% of the population in Balochistan has access to clean drinking water. The statistics show that around 10,000 cases of hepatitis B and C have been recorded due to shortages of clean water. The mass allocation of funds for this purpose is a pantomime and in no way facilitate the downtrodden state of Balochistan.
The provincial government allocated Rs8.8 billion for the installation of 510 new water projects, however, malpractice and corruption within institutions hindered implementation. The underground water level in Balochistan is extremely low due to craggy mountains and lack of trees. In rural areas, people drink from the same ponds that cattle drink from.
Another factor that is attributed to the scarcity of water in Balochistan is the abundance of natural resources. It is an undisputed fact that wherever there are natural resources, the amount of water in that area is less. The situation is alarmingly dire and can prove cataclysmic in the future. Chief Minister Jam Kamal as well as the relevant authorities, like the public health engineering department, need to pay attention to carry out measures to resolve this issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2021.