Sindh faced 58pc water shortage in Kharif 2018

The Nation

KARACHI – Sindh Minister for Irrigation Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Tuesday informed the assembly that the province had faced 58 percent shortage of water during early Kharif season 2018.
While furnishing a statement and replying to queries of the lawmakers during Question Hour in the provincial assembly, Irrigation Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) in its meeting on March 29, 2018 had anticipated water shortage to the tune of 31 percent during early Kharif from April 1 to June 10.
Later, he said, the IRSA in its meeting held on May 15, 2018 revised the shortages to 42 percent. However, he added, the province actually faced 58 per cent shortage of water during early Kharif.
Replying a question asked by Grand Democratic Alliance’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi, he said that the provincial government had formulated and implemented a contingent plan to cope up with the situation and prioritised supply of water.
He said that top priority was given to provision for drinking water.
The minister also said that the provincial government had taken help from Rangers to control water theft and to provide water to tail end farmers.
To a question asked by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Khurram Sher Zaman, the minister said that several crops including cotton, red chilli over 100,000 acres were adversely affected by the shortage of irrigation water. To another question by Jatoi, he said that the provincial government had taken up the plan for lining of main canals, branch canals, distries and minors to reduce water losses and allied water logging and salinity.
He said that the provincial government had provided block allocations in budgetary grant. He said that Rs12 billion were allocated in 2016-17, Rs15 billion in 2017-18 and Rs5 billion in 2019-19.
Giving the details of the irrigation department’s achievements on lining of water channels financed through Annual Development Programme (ADP), the minister said that as many as 52 schemes had been completed. He said the length of lined main canals was 6.2 miles and the length of lined distributaries and minors was 625.388 miles.
Besides, the minister said, as many as 37 schemes were under execution.
He said that the project “Lining of distributaries and minors in Sindh”was approved at the cost of Rs13,828.322 million for lining of 109 channels having length of 860 miles.
The minister said that 53 channels had been completed with length of 357 miles.
Shah said that 950 cusecs irrigation water would be saved for cultivation of additional 285,871 acres after completion of the project.
The GDA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said that Rs 50 billion corruption was made in irrigation department as pointed out by the Auditor General of Pakistan. “The AG points out some irregularities but it doesn’t mean that the corruption was made,” the minister replied. The PTI’s Dr Imran Ali Shah insisted that the AG had pointed out malpractices and the same could not be termed just irregularities. Nasir asked the PTI MP to go through the AG’s audit report for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, saying that the PTI’s provincial government had failed to answer where billions of rupees were spent. “You have different criteria for Sindh government,” Nasir said and offered Dr Shah the AG’s report on Khyber Pakhutnkwa.
The house sent two private bills—The Sindh Water Management (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and The Control of Narcotic Substances (Sindh Amendment) Bill—to the concerned committees and asked then two report back the same within four weeks.

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