KARACHI: To deal with drought-like situation in 148 dehs of seven districts of Sindh, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has ordered to distribute wheat among the affected families and provide fodder and vaccination to their cattle.
Presiding over a meeting at CM House on Tuesday, Shah discussed the findings of a committee that he formed in his last tenure to consult all major stakeholders, including civic administration and civil society, to understand the extent of the drought and the relief measures required to deal with it.
The committee was headed by Board of Revenue senior member Dr Iqbal Durrani and its other members included the livestock secretary, health secretary, agriculture secretary, public health engineering secretary, Mirpurkhas commissioner and deputy commissioners of Thar, Umerkot and Sanghar.
Briefing the meeting, Dr Durrani said that the committee held a meeting on August 21 and then visited drought affected areas on August 24 and 25. The committee also held meetings with divisional and district officers and members of civil society to understand the situation.
The committee reported that the drought had affected 167 dehs of Thar, excluding five dehs of barrage area, 25 of Umerkot, 88 of Dadu, six of Thatta, 22 of Kamber-Shahdadkot, seven of Sanghar and a large part of Chundko taluka in District Khairpur.
It was pointed out that wheat distribution was already under way on the basis of the Benazir Income Support Programme database to175,565 families, including 87,565 of Thar, 15,442 of Umerkot, 14,000 of Sanghar, 19,791 of Dadu, 47,945 of Jamshoro and 822 of Kamber-Shahdadkot districts.
Dr Durrani also raised the issue of water shortage. The CM said that he had reports that out of 590 reverse osmosis (RO) plants, 443 were functional and 147 non-functional due to problems of electricity and other issues. He also said 237 RO plants had been converted to solar energy and the conversion of others was in progress.
The meeting was informed that out of 81 water supply schemes, 43 were functional and 38 non-functional. On this, Shah directed the public health engineering department to make all the non-functional water supply schemes operational. He also directed the department and district administration to make necessary arrangements to provide drinking water to affected villages through tankers. The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) will also help to supply water, the CM said.
The meeting was also attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah, Chief Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman, Planning and Development Board Chairperson Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho, Health Secretary Dr Usman Chachar, Agriculture Secretary Shafiq Mahesar, Local Government Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, Food Secretary Rafiq Buriro and other officers.