BS Feeder: Rice farmers protest against water shortage

While one side floods, the other side faces shortages.


Express August 10, 2011

SUKKUR: Traffic on the National Highway was stopped for three hours, as hundreds of farmers organised a protest demonstration at the Sukkur-Shikarpur Road against a shortage of water in the Begari Sindh Feeder on Tuesday.

The farmers, led by Ghulam Akbar Mahar, Manzoor Ali Bhayo and Hazari Mahar, gathered near Jehan Khan village and chanted against irrigation officials and burnt tires.

There is acute shortage of water in the feeder from RD-338 to RD-380, they said. They said that they have spent thousands of rupees planting rice over hundreds of acres and badly need water so the seedlings don’t die.

The farmers alleged that the irrigation officials are selling water to the landlords but depriving poor growers like them. No action is being taken against those landlords either. They warned of widespread protests if the water is not released into the feeder within the next 48 hours.

The Shikarpur SDO of irrigation, Ayaz Soomro, negotiated with the protesters.

Children die as village floods

Hundreds of villagers staged a demonstration and sit-in at the Thul-Kandhkot road on Tuesday. A 60-foot-wide breach in Moosa Allahabad Shakh near Subah Sadiq Jaffery village flooded four villages, including Subah Sadiq Jaffery, Hakim Jaffery, Naukaf Jaffery and Nawab Ahmed Jaffery.

Abdul Rehman, 5, and Zainab, four, were swept away by the strong current. Agricultural land and crops were also affected. Villagers gathered at Thul-Kandhkot road, shouting against irrigation officials for their poor performance and negligence despite being warned by villagers of the fragile condition of the embankment. Meanwhile protestors burnt tyres and blocked the road for more than two hours. However, no irrigation officials were to be seen at the site of the catastrophe, leaving villagers to plug the breach on their own.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.

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