Call to address Thar’s core issue of water on a priority basis

July 07, 2019

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THE conference on Thar’s water issue under way in Mithi on Saturday.—Dawn
THE conference on Thar’s water issue under way in Mithi on Saturday.—Dawn

MITHI: Lawmakers, water experts and members of civil society organisations speaking at a conference here on Saturday called for a permanent solution to the water issue of Tharparkar.

They were of the concerted opinion that water was the biggest issue of this rain-dependent arid zone and, as such, was required to be resolved on a priority basis.

Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani told the conference, organised by the Sukkar Foundation, that it was not possible to provide canal water to the entire desert region through pipelines. However, he said, the provincial government was making every possible effort to employ alternative means to provide water to a maximum number of people.

“The Sindh government is providing canal water to towns through pipelines and installed hundreds of RO plants in the rural areas where laying pipelines is not feasible,” he pointed out.

Mr Ghani agreed that more RO plants were needed to be installed in the remaining villages so that Tharis could get drinking water for themselves and their livestock close to their houses.

The minister claimed that over 600 out of the total 750 RO plants in Thar were operational. “The Sindh government, despite financial problems, will focus on the core issue; it will install more RO plants,” he said.

PPP MNA Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani told the participants that there was an urgent need for enhancing the capacity of the existing RO plants and install more such units in remote villages of Thar.

He said that the provincial government had built small dams in the hilly area of Parkar to store rainwater flowing from the foothills of Karoonjhar.

MPA Rana Hamir Singh reiterated that with proper planning, RO plants could provide a good solution to the water issue of Thar. He said there was also an urgent need for storing rainwater during monsoon.

Public Health Engineering secretary Roshan Shaikh said that the Sindh government had earmarked Rs60 million for the construction of model villages with all necessary facilities. CM’s Special Assistant Advocate Veerji Kolhi said that the Nagarparkar region always suffered more in drought period, adding that that more small dams were required to be built to store rainwater from Karoonjhar hills.

He expressed his concern over the fact that despite presence of 27 such dams in the region, more than 80 per cent of rainwater was going waste.

PPP leader Aajiz Dhamrah told the conference that PPP government, despite all odds, would continue to provide maximum possible facilities to the people of Thar.

Senator Gyanchand, MPA Fakeer Sher Mohammad Bilalani, Dr Sono Khangharani, Abid Cha­nna, Thar Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahzad Tahir Thaheem, Kanwar Karni Singh, Krishan Sharma, Natho Khan Rahimoon and others also spoke.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2019