SHIKARPUR: Former MNA and a leading agriculturist Dr Mohammad Ibrahim Jatoi has said that farmers have become disappointed in the Sindh government and felt compelled to launch a protest movement against rampant corruption and irregularities in the agriculture and irrigation departments.

Talking to journalists at his residence late on Wednesday evening, Mr Jatoi said the Sindh government had not paid any attention towards improving agricultural and irrigation systems and failed to facilitate farmers with provision of seeds, water, farm equipment and gunny bags.

He said the government had set up wheat procurement centres in all talukas but no small grower could get gunny bags nor sell wheat to the centres without recommendation of the MPAs and officers concerned, including district food controller.

He claimed the gunny bags were being sold to grain merchants and traders in return for hefty commission agreed upon between the officers and the traders.

He urged the Sindh government to ensure gunny bags were provided to genuine growers and wheat was purchased from them at government-fixed rate.

Mr Jatoi demanded the irrigation department should immediately carry out an operation to de-silt canals and repair all regulators installed at various big and small canals in the district before the onset of flood season. He said the departments concerned should improve the irrigation system in order to enable growers to cultivate Kharif crops without facing shortage of water. Majority of the population of the district was dependent upon agriculture to feed their families, he said.

Payments through banks stopped

DADU: Payments to around 500 wheat growers were stopped by banks after District Food Controller (DFC) Madad Ali Mugheri issued a letter asking for an immediate halt to the bank transactions in this regard.

An estimated sum of around Rs300 million is to be disbursed by banks in the district to the wheat growers of Dadu against disposal of their produce.

The DFC letter stated that payments to growers be stopped as an investigation into the release of gunny bags to each grower was under way. However, many affected growers, including Dr Aftab Ahmed Bhand, Sikandar Ali, Nadeem Ahmed and Liaquat Ali, told local reporters that the DFC issued the letter after growers refused to pay Rs300 per bag illegal gratification to the Dadu DFC staff.

Mr Mugheri and food inspector Asghar Panhwar could not be approached for their comments as they have kept their mobile phones switched off since the issue cropped up on Thursday morning.

Tail-enders seek water

HYDERABAD: Growers from the tail-end areas fed by Naseer canal of Sukkur barrage on Thursday condemned the ‘artificial’ water shortage, alleging that the irrigation authorities were providing water to upper riparian, thus denying them their due share.

They demanded deployment of Rangers to ensure judicious distribution of water.

Addressing a news conference in the local press club, Tail Abadgar Association leaders Syed Abid Ali Shah, Imtiaz Malkani, Pir Bux Hashmani and others accused the executive engineer of Naseer Canal and superintending engineer of Rohri Canal of denying them their due share in water during the Kharif sowing season.

They deplored that the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in this regard was not being implemented.

They demanded immediate release of water into Jarkas, Khoski, Sanghi Farhu, Khairpur, Aayalpur, Bangar, Basran-II and other such channels.

They called for closing all illegal direct outlets immediately and ensuring water discharge at Sanghi Farhu regulator. They said rotation should also be put to an end at this regulator.

The growers said the situation in Khair­pur Gamboh subdivision was pathetic where livestock and people were not getting water even for drinking purposes; the situation forced people to migrate. They said their livestock could die in such a situation.

They said Rohri Canal of Sukkur barrage which supplied water to Naseer Canal was drawing 100 per cent flows from the barrage, yet they were facing shortage and zero irrigation water flows. It showed that it was purely artificial shortage in their area.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2017

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