SUKKUR: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that provincial government will ask the Indus River System Authority to release water commensurate with the province’s demand as acute shortage of water persists in Sindh.
Mr Shah said while talking to media persons after a briefing at Sukkur barrage on Sunday that it was hoped the situation would improve after 245,000 cusec water reached Chashma barrage downstream but even after that the water shortage problem still nagged the province.
He said that on the one hand there was danger of flood while on the other there was shortage of water, which continued to badger growers. The shortage was recorded even at Guddu and Kotri barrages and the government would talk to Irsa, urging it to release water according to the province’s demand, he said.
He said the demand of water at Sukkur barrage was 62,000 cusec but 48,000 cusec passed through the barrage as of Saturday. He had directed special assistant for irrigation Ashfaq Memon to talk to the Irsa in this connection, he said.
He said that directives had been issued to the irrigation department to bring improvement in management as well as distribution of water. Reports about many portfolios without ministries were baseless because he as chief minister was empowered to entrust as many portfolios as he wished to a minister. “In the light of the 18th Amendment, we can appoint at least 18 ministers,” he said.
He said in answer to a question about Centre’s move to take three hospitals back from the province that the hospitals in question were already under the control of Sindh government while Centre had no intention no look after them which was evident from its failure to allocate funds for the hospitals in the budget.
However, he said, the Sindh government allocated Rs16.5 billion in the budget for the hospitals although the Centre had released Rs105 billion less to the province.
Mr Shah said that transfer of Sukkur commissioner was not violation of code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan as the code applied only to districts. However, his transfer had been stopped on a request of the election commission, he said.
He said that Rs315 million were being released to take affective steps to fight against locust attack. Help in this regard had also been sought from the Centre as “we have to eradicate locusts at any cost within three months,” he said.
He said that he believed Moulana Fazlur Rehman fulfilled his commitment. “As we supported him in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa he will certainly reciprocate the help in Ghotki and we hope his party will also cooperate with us,” he said.
Earlier, Secretary Irrigation Dr Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo said during the briefing that less water was being released to Guddu barrage than the demand. A fresh demand for 190,000 cusec had been made to the Irsa, he said.
He said that 400 FIRs had been lodged against water thieves who were stealing water through pipelines and lift machines and action had been taken against officials of the irrigation department for their poor performance.
During the briefing, the chief minister directed DIG of Sukkur police to liaise with irrigation department I its efforts to curb water theft and take stern action against the thieves.
CM distances from Maryam’s tape
The chief minister tried to distance from Maryam Nawaz’s ‘disclosures’ about judiciary and her release of a startling video tape showing a judge purportedly confessing he had given verdict under duress.
He did not want to comment on it because it was for the judiciary to investigate the scandal and come clean on the charges being hurled at the respectable institution, he said.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2019