Sindh’s water share slashed further: Shoro

Irrigation minister says crops withering due to water supply cuts by Irsa

Sameer Mandhro October 04, 2021


Sindh is getting four million acre feet (MAF) less water than its sanctioned share threatening the winter harvests of sugarcane and cotton which could cripple the local economy, said Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro.

"Water shortage is unprecedented in the last 10 years," Shoro said adding, "Sindh, on an average, has been receiving 12.23 MAF water annually since 2010," he informed The Express Tribune. He said that this year the province was being provided less water than the last year.

Sindh's agriculture economy suffered colossal losses due to water supply cuts for the Kharif crops which are sown in summer and harvested in autumn, like cotton, sugarcane and rice.

Further water supply cuts now threaten the Rabi crops which are sown in winter, around early November, and harvested in spring and summer like wheat, onion, tomato and potato.

Injustice by IRSA

Addressing the press conference on Sunday along with Minister for Information and Labour Saeed Ghani, Shoro said that cotton and rice crops are withering due to shortage of water.

Read More: Water thieves attack irrigation dept officials

There has always been injustice in the distribution of water share with Sindh province on the part of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) and now they are telling us about another 28% cut in water supply at the time of harvesting of sugarcane crop in Sindh.

He said that currently IRSA should be releasing 14.87 MAF water to Sindh as per the water agreement of 1991, "but regrettably we are being told that the authority would provide only 10.36 MAF of water for Rabi season. This would lead to further cut of about 4.5 MAF water to Sindh which is injustice with our province of Sindh."

Three-tier formula

Shoro further said the representatives of the Sindh province staged protest and walked out during the recently held meeting of the IRSA's Advisory Committee due to the blatant injustice of the authority over the water distribution and three-tier formula which was brought under discussion without consultations of small provinces and it was the violation of the water accord of 1991.

IRSA assured that the three-tier formula would be included in the agenda in the next meeting but now we have come to that it would not be included in the upcoming meeting which is scheduled to be held on October 5.

Shoro said that IRSA was founded for the purpose to remove the apprehension of the smaller provinces regarding the water distribution and to ensure the equal proportion of water share among the provinces, but it has failed to implement on the water accord of 1991. He further informed that IRSA holds two meetings in a year, one during the Kharif season and the other one in the Rabi season.

If IRSA does not implement on the water Accord of 1991 then it is a blatant violation of the Constitution of Pakistan. When Sindh raised the water shortage issue in the Council of the Common Interests (CCI) in the year 2018, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mansoor Ahmed Khan.

However, the report of the committee revealed blatant injustice with Sindh on water share distribution. However, when the report was presented in the CCI, the Prime Minister sent it back to the Attorney General.

Shoro said that eroding agricultural yield due to water shortage caused by the skewed policies of the government in the Centre is not just the loss of the growers of Sindh but the loss of the country itself.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Information Minister and labour Saeed Ghani said the Pakistan Peoples' Party had been protesting against water shortage and even today PPP had decided to protest against IRSA's role towards the Sindh province over water distribution today in Karachi but it was postponed due to the tragic demise of veteran comedian artist Umer Sharif.

False claims

While responding to journalists' questions, Shoro said that the federal government did not give any mega project to Sindh. The Centre has only made fake claims.

To another question he said that no barrages were built in Sindh after 1960. Responding another question, he said that if IRSA would not act upon the water accord seriously "we have no other choice but to protest against its injustices." No government can usurp the rights of any province when it comes on the table of CCI. He said that representative of the Balochistan province was acting as a tool of IRSA so how could he accuse Sindh of committing injustice with Balochistan.

Shoro added that CCI is a constitutional body created by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto so that no one can do injustice to small provinces.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2021.


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