BADIN: Participants in a conference on water have urged the provincial government to make sure that the irrigation water is supplied to all tail-end farmers in district Badin.
A large number of water experts, environmentalists, farmers and growers’ representatives, as well as activists of different political, social and religious parties, from different towns and cities of the district expressed their views at the conference, held at the Badin Press Club on Saturday evening.
The conference was organised by the ‘Save Badin Committee’ as part of its sustained struggle against what it believes, an artificial water crisis in the district.
They alleged that the district was being destroyed for petty interests and the government had miserably failed to overcome the worsening water crisis. They said that more than one million acres of the fertile land had been turned barren under a conspiracy while as much land in the barrage areas was being supplied ample water stolen from the share of other landowners.
The conference highlighted devastating impact on the agriculture sector and deteriorating economic condition of the local population.
The speakers at the conference included Mir Ghulam Rasool Talpur, Nawaz Shah Bhadai, Khalil Ahmed Bhurgari, Ameer Azad Panhwar, Sayed Khuda Dino Shah, Ghafoor Chandio, Dr Soomar Khoso, Nakash Alwani, Noor Ahmed Talpur, Azizullah Dero, Shah Nawaz Siyal and Zafar Shah.
They urged the government to release the adequate flows in the canal feeding the district.
They deplored that the water crisis in the coastal belt of the district was playing havoc with environment as it had been destroying the district’s economy for many years.
They said the committee’s struggle had now entered a crucial phase, where it was set to become a movement for a judicious distribution of water, they added.
They said that more than 40 cusecs of water share of district Badin was being stolen, and claimed that the Sindh government, the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) and other water bodies were involved in the water theft.
They stressed that it was high time to exert more pressure on the government to devise sustainable policies and plans to resolve water crisis, adding that worsening and severe artificial water shortage and sea intrusion would bring more widespread devastation in the whole region if the remedial measures were not taken timely by the rulers.
They warned that playing with natural flows of water designed by past water experts and engineers when barrage system was being introduced in Sindh, would cause widespread devastation if more than normal rains or flood-like situation emerged in rivers.
They criticised the officials of irrigation and Sida for carrying out faulty designs in the flow of canals just to divert water to land of the influential people.
The blockages, construction of flood canals and theft of water through illegal direct outlets and tampered with modules were the main factors behind the bitter fact that despite much water, the tail-end areas were still without water, they added.
The speakers also slammed the rulers for their alleged callousness towards the historic peaceful struggle launched by farmers of the district.
“It is a matter of serious concern that Badin district is irrigated by the canals from both Sukkur and Kotri barrages, but share of water of the farmers is always stolen by the landlords with the connivance of irrigation officials,” they added.
The speakers addressing the water conference held the officials of both Sida and irrigation department responsible for their plight adding that they demanded the removal of the corrupt officials.
They said that after Eid they would extend the scope of their peaceful protest and would give a lockdown call in the whole district if their demands were not met.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2019