Farmers march in scorching heat to record protest against water crisis

Updated 13 Jun 2019


After the protesters reached Khairpur Gumbo they also staged a demonstration on Pangrio-Jhuddo road. — Dawn/File
After the protesters reached Khairpur Gumbo they also staged a demonstration on Pangrio-Jhuddo road. — Dawn/File

BADIN: A large number of farmers, traders and villagers staged one-kilometre march on foot from Malkani Sharif town to Khairpur Gumbo in scorching heat to record protest against nagging water crisis in Badin district for the past several months.

After the protesters reached Khairpur Gumbo they also staged a demonstration on Pangrio-Jhuddo road for three hours and listened to speeches by their leaders.

Sindh Abadgar Tanzeem (SAT) leaders Pir Fayaz Hussain Shah Rashidi, Tariq Mehmood Arain, Mohammad Ali Liskani and others lashed out at officials of irrigation department for their callousness towards landowners’ plight in irrigation sub-division of Khairpur Gumbo.

They said that growers were in deep crisis because of complete lack of water in their waterways as the water of their share was being stolen by influential landlords in connivance with irrigation department officials in complete disregard of orders of the apex court.

They recalled that Supreme Court had taken notice of acute water shortage in the area in 2013 during their historical protests and issued strict directives to irrigation officials to ensure fair distribution of water in all 17 outlets of the sub-division.

They alleged that despite having ample water in Sukkur Barrage canals irrigation officials were not taking any pity on them and providing them their share of water. The entire fertile region had turned into a wasteland due to nagging water crisis for past several months, forcing hundreds of families to migrate to urban areas after failing to get any respite from the manmade disaster, they said.

They expressed sympathies with leaders of Save Badin Committee and assured them of their complete support in the ongoing peaceful struggle against water shortage mainly caused by erection of blockages in canals.

They warned they would widen their protest if they were not supplied water immediately.

Rs50m project fails to supply canal water to Nagarparkar

MITHI: Over Rs50 million worth project for supply of canal water to Nagarparkar town through pipeline has so far failed to bring the scarce commodity to the drought-stricken hilly town and it remains a distant dream for the area people to get water during extremely hot weather within next few weeks.

The area people told this reporter on Wednesday that the pipes developed leaks near Veera Wah area a few days back, stopping supply of water to a large number of residents.

They said that work on the replacement of rusted pipes was going on at a snail’s pace and they had no hope they would be able to get water in coming few weeks though officials had already spent the sanctioned amount of Rs50m.

They said that former MPA from the area Sharjeel Inam Memon had sanctioned the water supply scheme but its cost kept rising every year till it was completed.

They said that Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers including the area’s MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro, MPA Rana Hamir Singh, special assistant to chief minister advocate Veerji Kolhi had promised to supply them water before Eid but it did not happen because of official neglect and massive corruption in the project by the public health engineering department functionaries.

They said that both Mr Soomro and Mr Kolhi were nowhere to be seen to supervise work on the damaged pipeline. Nobody was serious to provide them piped water in severe drought conditions in which all dams and deep wells had dried up, they said.

They demanded that the entire pipeline be replaced with a new one at the earliest so that they could get drinking water for them and their livestock.

The pipeline first burst at Kare Tarr village as the pipes had gathered massive rust because of high levels of salinity in the area. No official concerned or lawmaker was available for comment on use of substandard material in the mega project.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2019