MITHI: Without adopting long-term sustainable policies to tackle issues in the Tharparkar region, the conditions prevailing in the desert area cannot improve.

This was observed by Dr Sono Khangrani, one of the four members of a commission, headed by former advocate-general Abdul Fatah Malik, set up by the provincial government on a directive of the judiciary.

The commission visited Mithi, Diplo, Islamkot, Chhacchro, Nagarpakar and many other areas to assess the situation leading to the death of a large number of people, mainly newborn and other children under the age of five, amid a drought-like situation in Thar over the past few months.

Dr Khangrani suggested implementation of such policies in the light of the commission’s report. He said the commission completed its assessment of the situation on Sunday (April 3) and would submit its report to the government as directed by court. He said the report would also be made public within a month.

On the last day of the visit to Tharparkar, the commission met officials of various departments and sought their views on the availability or otherwise of essential commodities and facilities in different areas of the region.

The commission also visited the Mithi Civil Hospital where the civil surgeon along with other staff members briefed it on the health facilities and medicines being provided to patients. They informed the commission of the shortcomings and requirements of the hospital.

Earlier, the commission during its visit to various areas spoke to people and gathered first-hand information relating to food, water and health facilities within their respective areas.

Most people complained of unavailability of drinking water which, they said, had become a crisis and been prevailing in the rural areas of the region for years. They also told the commission that most health facilities in Thar had been facing a shortage of doctors, paramedics and medicines, besides essential medical examination facilities.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2016

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