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THATTA: The water level in the Keenjhar Lake that feeds Karachi and Thatta district has dropped much below the operational level of RL-56 signalling a possible suspension of supply to both the metropolis and Thatta.

The tail-end areas of Thatta district have already been experiencing a drought-like situation since the water level started descending from the RL-56 level. The other parts of Thatta as well as Karachi might start getting much lesser than usual supply in the days to come as a further drop has been recorded on Tuesday.

Sources in the local irrigation office said that water level in Keenjhar had come down to as low as 46-RL. They pointed out that outward flows from Thatta to Karachi would only be possible if the level remained at RL-56 and above.

The decline to RL-46 was hampering normal supplies, they added.

Thatta district has been facing a water shortage for seven months although the water level in Keenjhar had not dropped to this level. The district has more than 700,000 acres of agricultural land in the command area of the KB Feeder-lower and the shortage over such a long period had already caused heavy losses to growers.

Growers hold sit-in

HYDERABAD: Tail-end growers of Rohri Canal held a sit-in outside the office of the Rohri Canal superintending engineer in the Saddar area here on Tuesday to demand flow of adequate water into the irrigation channel.

The protest was organised under the aegis of the Tail Abadgar Action Committee. It was led by Attaullah Shah, Qazi Faizullah, Qazi Noor Mohammad and others.

Growers of the tail-end areas of Rohri Canal own their lands in Badin district which is fed by Khairpur Gamboh subdivision’s system of Naseer Canal. They have been holding such sit-ins off and on outside the SE’s office for a long time complaining that steps were not being taken to ensure water supply up to their lands from the Rohri Canal system despite an improved situation of flows.

They also claim that their share of water was stolen on the way and, as such, they could not sow crops in summer season.

A strong contingent of police arrived there to disperse the sit-in participants as the protest resulted in a massive traffic gridlock in the Cantonment area for several hours.

Police got all shops in the area closed in preparation of action against the protesters but the plan was dropped.

Deputy Commissioner Anis Dasti and SSP Pir Mohammad Shah held talks with the growers’ leaders, who ended the sit-in in the evening.

Earlier, leaders of the protesting growers held talks with the superintending engineer Mukhtiar Abro, who tried to convince them to end their protest but the protesters did not agree to end their sit-in.

The DC and SSP joined the meeting and after a long session, the DC told the growers’ leaders that a rotation system for water distribution in the Naseer division would be prepared by the irrigation department to address the issue. The protesters then ended their protest on the assurance.

Qazi Faizullah told Dawn that the rotation plan would be prepared by executive engineer Zaheer Memon who had just taken over the charge. SE Abro endorsed the statement. About the growers’ demand for deployment of Rangers to check water theft, the SE said some correspondence in this regard was made by the irrigation department.

Water supply to Mithi within three days ordered

MITHI: Tharparkar District and Sessions Judge Mushtaq Ahmed Kalwar took notice of a crisis-like situation in Mithi due to unavailability of water in many areas. He visited the water reservoir near Naukot town on numerous complaints made to him by the local bar association, civil society organisations and a number of Mithi residents.

They informed the judge that the town and its surrounding areas and villages had been facing an acute shortage of water due to “inefficiency of the Mithi municipality and local irrigation officials”. During his visit, the judge warned irrigation officials to mend their ways and ensure adequate water supply to the town within the next three days.

Judge Kalwar also directed Judicial Magistrate Abdul Qadir Khoso to visit the reservoir and make sure that water was released into it from Rann minor.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018