Balochistan to move CCI over water dispute with Sindh

Provincial spokesperson blames Sindh for violation of apportionment of waters of Indus River System Accord 1991


Qaiser Butt July 21, 2016
Provincial spokesperson blames Sindh for violation of apportionment of waters of Indus River System Accord 1991. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Year’s old dispute between the provincial governments over their share of waters from the Indus River System has become worse as Balochistan has again accused Sindh of denying its due share.

It has also blamed Sindh for the violation of “Apportionment of Waters of Indus River System Accord, 1991”.

“The province of Balochistan has been the worst victim on account of denial of its allocated share of water since several years,” said provincial spokesperson Anwaarul Haq Kakar.

“Due to this unfair attitude on the part of Sindh, crops over hundreds of thousands of acres are being damaged every year since 1991-92."

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After having failed to convince the Sindh government for implementation of the accord in letter and spirit, Balochistan is left with no option but to take up the matter at the Council of Common Interest (CCI), the spokesperson said.

“Before taking this decision the chief minister of Balochistan and the speaker of the provincial assembly addressed several letters to the chief minister of Sindh seeking an appropriate settlement of the issue.”

Secretary and Additional Secretary of Irrigation Department of Sindh, Syed Zaheer Haider Shah and Aslam Ansari respectively were not available for their comments on the issue.

Balochistan also approached the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), seeking its intervention to resolve the matter but to no avail.

“All of our efforts in this regard remained frustrated as none of them took our grievances seriously,” regretted Kakar.

“We are going to the CCI not only for our share of waters but also to claim Rs92448 million from Sindh government as a compensation of those crops that had been damaged since 1991-92,” he explained.

Impoverished people in several Balochistan districts, including Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Jhal-Magsi, who exclusively depend on the irrigation from Indus system of waters, are the direct victims of the unfair release of waters by Sindh.

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“Due to low waters labourers could hardly survive with one meal a day,” Kakar lamented, claiming malnutrition among the poor tenants in those three districts has resulted in high mortality rates in recent years.

This attitude on part of Sindh’s Irrigation Department has adversely affected the economy of Balochistan, which otherwise would receive 50 per cent of its staple food from its agriculture land linked to canal irrigation system, he alleged.

Sindh’s Irrigation Department, which possesses control over the regulation of canal system by virtue of its location, has adopted a selfish policy at the cost of Balochistan for water releases which, the spokesperson said, is a blatant violation of the 1991 accord.

Sindh had been using 50,000-60,000 cusecs of water in excess of its allocated share and more than 30,000 cusecs were released from Kotri Barrage in the Arabian Sea.

Alarming shortfall which was taking the toll of Kharif crops over thousand of acres of land in the Balochistan canal irrigation system has caused political and social upheavals for the provincial government.

“The farmers have started resorting to bitter agitation and road blockades, which may culminate into serious law and order situation in the province,” the spokesperson warned.

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Pat-feeder Canal, Uch Canal and Monuthi Canal have undergone 25-35 per cent of shortfall whereas Khirther Canal has thus far suffered worst of shortage in the range of 40-45 per cent during the current Kharif season.

“We request the government of Sindh to let the people of Balochistan to avail their allocated share of waters,” Kakar said in a passionate appeal.

“Otherwise, the provincial government would ask the federal government to take punitive action against Sindh for its constant violation of the 91 accord."

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