Farmers demand Punjab return Sindh’s stolen water

Water shortage for irrigation of winter crops reportedly surges to as high as 70% in parts of Sindh

Our Correspondent November 19, 2018

HYDERABAD: As water shortage for irrigation of winter crops has reportedly surged to as high as 70% in parts of Sindh, the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has demanded that Punjab should return water stolen from Sindh's share over the last 10 months. The demand was raised at a meeting of the SCA in Hyderabad, which farmers' representatives from Karachi, Sukkur, Sanghar and other cities attended through a video link, on Sunday.

SCA President Qabool Muhammad Khatian said the Sindh government should ask Punjab to return water of the province's share which was stolen during the last 10 months. Citing a report by the Sindh irrigation department, he claimed that 23% of Sindh's water is still being taken by Punjab between Taunsa and Guddu barrages.

Punjab objects over Sindh's participation in water distribution meeting

"The severe shortage has made cultivation of winter crops difficult," he said. The SCA also complained about problems in water distribution within Sindh where the tail end farmers are always made to suffer from the shortfall.

The SCA, which is one of the leading lobbying groups of agriculturists, rejected Rs1,300 per 40 kilogramme price of wheat crop set by the Sindh government. "The rate of wheat has remained static since 2014 but the cost of cultivation during all these years has increased by 100%," said Khatian.

The SCA called to enhance the rate by Rs200 per 40kg to Rs1,500. He contended that the persistent low price will discourage the farmers from cultivating wheat which may result in a drop in production and subsequent food insecurity which existed around 10 years ago when wheat was being imported.

With the provincial government delaying notifying the sugarcane crushing season and fixing the crop's price, which according to the law has to be done by mid-October every year, the chamber raised the alarm. The farmers deplored that over a month has already passed since the deadline for notifying the season but the Sindh government has stuck to its pro-sugar mills policy to the detriment of the farmers. The SCA demanded Rs200 per 40kg rate for sugarcane.

Judicial commission forms committee to regularise water supply in DHA

Dejected by the delay in the crushing season, a farmer in Benazirabad district set his crop on fire. Wazir Detho, who owns a farm in Qazi Ahmed taluka of the district, on Sunday burnt his sugarcane crop in protest. "We take loans to grow the crop and when its grown, we either don't get a reasonable price or delay in the crushing season damages the crop," he told the media.

Meanwhile, the SCA also asked the government to allow export of tomato and onion crops. They claimed the farmers of the two crops are suffering losses because of extremely low rates and production which is higher than the national demand.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2018.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

Most Read