MIRPURKHAS: Farmers organisations of the irrigation department have failed to recover Abiana (water tax) dues, which have reached Rs400 million over the years, from defaulting landlords and farmers, causing huge losses to the government exchequer.
Sources told Dawn here the other day that under the rules of Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) the farmers organisations had been formed in areas along distributaries, minors and channels to ensure the maintenance, desilting and strengthening of dykes to preclude the danger of breaches during heavy rainfall and flood season.
The organisations were bound to recover the Abiana from landlords and farmers and they were to keep 40 per cent of the total collected tax while 60 per cent went to Sindh government. The organisations spent the amount on maintenance and repair of channels, distributaries and minors, said the sources.
But thanks to inefficiency of the office-bearers of FOs, the Abiana had not been recovered from farmers and landlords over the past several years till the dues mounted to about Rs400 million.
However, now director of Nara Canal Area Water Board Mansoor Memon has launched a drive for the recovery of Abiana. On his directives, water supply to many defaulting landlords and farmers have been closed and watercourses sealed till clearance of dues.
The sources said that irrigation department’s engineers and staff had intensified the recovery campaign in the command area of lower Nara Canal.
Nara Canal Area Water Board manager Rasheed Ahmed Maher said that so far Rs30 million dues had been recovered. “We have fixed target of Rs70 million. So, the campaign will continue till the target is achieved”.