Sindh questions impartiality of IRSA teams

Refuses to allow regulator monitor discharge of water at barrages

Our Correspondent June 15, 2021


The PPP led Sindh government has refused to allow the teams constituted by the water regulator – the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) – to monitor the discharge of water at the barrages in the province and raised questions about their impartiality.

The provincial government said it has strong reservations about the monitoring teams, which, it claimed, were formed unilaterally.

"We will not allow monitoring of the barrages until impartial teams are formed," the Sindh irrigation department stated in a letter to Irsa.

The department urged the regulator to devise a framework for measuring the water level. It also called for identifying the inspection sites through consensus.

The Sindh government has been accusing the authority of providing it with less water than its share. However, Irsa claims that the Sindh government lies and that the province is being provided its due share.

On May 31, Irsa Chairman Rao Irshad wrote a letter to Wapda Chairman Lt General (retd) Muzzamal Hussain and conveyed to him the instructions of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water, for appointment of Inspectors at key locations to monitor water discharges.

Read Centre, Sindh in a bruising battle

The key six locations in Punjab where inspectors were to be appointed were Taunsa headway, Rasul headway, Marala headway, Trimmu headway, Chashma Barrage and Panjnad headway, whereas in Sindh inspectors were to monitor water discharges at Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages.

According to the sources, technical officials were to work as inspectors and monitor the water flows after further increase in water shares of Punjab and Sindh due to better inflows in rivers.

On June 6, Irsa issued rules and regulations with regard to water sharing, stating that it would distribute water among the provinces under the section 2 of the 1991 agreement.

According to the rules, Punjab could use up to 10,300 cusecs of water at the Taunsa Barrage while it could not use more than 9,200 cusecs from the Panjnad.

This restriction was to remain in place till June 8. Irsa had allowed Sindh to use water for rice from Kotri Barrage. The province, however, could not use water from Guddu and Sukkur barrages for the crop.

The Punjab government and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had respectively assigned two and three teams to curb water theft. Executive engineers (XEN) had been nominated as water inspectors. However, Sindh had not yet formed any such team.




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