Sindh demands judicial probe into water shortage

Provincial agriculture minister blames Centre for destroying farming


Our Correspondent July 10, 2021
PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

A sitting Sindh minister demanded on Friday a judicial inquiry into the provision of less water to the province than its allotted quota by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa), which led to water shortage there.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, while Addressing a press conference at Sindh House in Islamabad, held the federal government responsible for committing for “such a great injustice to Sindh” and for the “destruction of the agriculture” in the province.

“A judicial inquiry should be held into the issue of provision of less water to Sindh. Water is not being released to Sindh even for the early kharif season,” Rahu told reporters. “It’s a great injustice to Sindh but the prime minister is silent,” he added.

The minister claimed that Irsa had admitted to the water scarcity, but blamed the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for the shortage. “How is it possible for WAPDA to impose its decisions?” he asked. “Irsa has made a big blunder in water distribution.”

Responding to a question about the complaints raised by Balochistan, the minister said that water share of Balochistan had not been stolen by Sindh, rather the federal government was responsible for the scarcity of water.

Besides Sindh, the minister said, water shortage also existed in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and South Punjab but no one was holding asking questions to Irsa about it. “Government spokesmen are lying about providing surplus water to Sindh,” he charged.

Rahu held the federal government responsible for the destruction of Sindh’s agriculture. He also accused the federal government of misrepresenting the agricultural production data. “The government claims 700,000 cotton bales production but in fact the production is just 56,000 bales,” he said.

He said that Sindh’s crops have been damaged by the water shortage. “Date and chilli crops have been destroyed; cotton crop is damaged and the ginning industry is in crisis because the cotton mills are closing.

Rice is being cultivated 86,00 hectares which much less than the target area,” he added.

According to the provincial agricultural minister the federal government did not help the farmers. “The farmer has been destroyed by this government,” he said, warning that loss to the farmers would increase unemployment in the country.

Criticising the federal government, he said, that all institutions had been taken hostage and a conspiracy was being hatched to take over the judiciary also to sit in the government for another 15 years, the Sindh minister told reporters.

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