Thar commission: ‘Multiple factors found responsible for deaths’

11 govt departments blamed for children’s deaths in the district

Our Correspondent April 26, 2016
Women tend a child suffering from malnutrition at Mithi Hospital in Tharparkar. PHOTO: FILE


Thar Commission has found that frequent transfers and appointments of officers of 11 government departments, including health and population welfare, and early marriages of girls are primarily responsible for children’s deaths in the drought-hit district.

The report offers the following recommendations: Thar should immediately be declared a catastrophe-stricken area; Thar Development Authority be set up forthwith; salaries of the doctors appointed in the district be fixed at a minimum of Rs400k; officers’ appointments be done purely on merit; and child marriage bill be implemented.

The commission, headed by former Advocate General Sindh Abdul Fattah Malik, was set up by the Government of Sindh to determine facts about the famine and the recurrent deaths of children in Thar. The commission has handed over the 300-page report to the chief secretary Sindh.

According to the report, the provincial departments of health, education, irrigation, livestock, population welfare, agriculture, rehabilitation, revenue, tourism, forests and wildlife were to be blamed for the worsening situation and the losses. Sources say that no measures have been taken for the promotion of tourism in the district.

According to the report, six deputy-commissioners were transferred in just three years, and there had also been serious violations of merit in promotions and transfers. There is a shortage of doctors in hospitals in Thar and the doctors working in the area are paid low salaries.

The report says the scarcity of potable water is another big reason for the deaths in the drought-battered desert.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th,  2016.