FOR the last two decades, Johi has been craving for water. After widespread protests throughout Sindh by growers and people from various walks of life, the Johi barrage brought life to parched land of Johi and overjoyed farmers cultivated every inch of their land.
But after a month, the water level in Johi barrage started dropping. The penniless and indebted growers have taken loans to bear cultivation expenses. Now those who cultivated their lands at later stage have a problem — their standing crops are drying up, dashing all their hopes.
Perhaps those who have been stealing Johi’s share of water over the years consider it their right. As there is no alternative source of livelihood like industry, economic fortunes depend on agriculture. The area thus faces a humanitarian disaster.
One-third of the population has migrated to Dadu, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Karachi and other cities. The remaining population lives in extreme poverty.
I don’t know who to appeal as elected representatives, Sindh chief minister, Asif Zardari, Bilawal Zardari, irrigation secretary, police, Rangers, all know that this tragedy has befallen the people of Johi. But nobody takes it seriously. Supreme Court and Sindh High Court chief justices are requested to rescue 294,848 souls of Johi and ensure a sustainable supply of water.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019