Minister raises alarm in Sindh Assembly over water shortage in province

Published May 7, 2021
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Shah said that there was an over 22 per cent shortage of water in Sukkur Barrage and 44pc in Kotri Barrage. — PPI/File
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Shah said that there was an over 22 per cent shortage of water in Sukkur Barrage and 44pc in Kotri Barrage. — PPI/File

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was told on Friday that there was an acute shortage of water in the province as it was not getting its due share as per the Water Accord 1991 and it could also lead to a water crisis in Karachi and other parts of the province if the situation persisted for 10 more days.

While taking part in the debate on the pre-budget discussion in the house, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Shah said that there was an over 22 per cent shortage of water in Sukkur Barrage and 44pc in Kotri Barrage.

Coming down heavily on Punjab, he alleged that it was depriving Sindh of its due share in water.

“Federal harmony would be sabotaged if there remains the monopoly of one province [Punjab] on Indus water,” he said.

Indifference to urban centres alleged

Parliamentary Leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that the provincial government spent 99pc budget of irrigation but it could spend only 27pc of education and 7pc of health budgets. He said that the provincial government was not at all interested in the resolution of civic issues in the urban centres of the province as it spent only 38pc of the amount released to the local government department during the current fiscal year.

Referring to the mega schemes for Karachi, he said as many as 17 uplift schemes could not be completed despite a lapse of eight years. “Not a single penny has been spent on the schemes during the current fiscal year,” he said.

Warns of crisis in Karachi if the situation persists for 10 more days

The MQM-P parliamentary leader said that thousands of Karachiites were deprived of employment in government departments due to the issuance of thousands of forged domiciles to the people who did not belong to the city.

He also said that neither the law enforcement agencies personnel were local, nor were the criminals in the city.

Kanwar Naveed Jameel said both the federal and provincial governments and the judiciary were not bothered about the problems faced by the people of Karachi and Hyderabad.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Firdaus Shamim Naqvi said that the law and order situation in the province was worsening.

Inter-provincial transport ban

PPP’s Qasim Soomro said that inter-provincial transport should be banned in the wake of the surge in Covid-19 cases.

He said the provincial government had repeatedly requested the federal government to ban the inter-provincial transport to control the spread of Covid-19, but to no avail.

The PPP member said the federal government was “mistreating” the novel coronavirus, adding that people coming from abroad carried the virus as there was no check at the airports and borders.

He said that 3.8 million people from across the country were treated on the main campus and at units of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases.

Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the Grand Democratic Alliance said that instead of reviving Pakistan Steel Mill’s oxygen plant at a cost of Rs1 billion, the provincial government should procure portable oxygen cylinders. He said the portable cylinders would cost up to $15,000 each.

Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mehboob Zaman said that Sindh contributed a major chunk to Pakistan’s economy but in return it got nothing. He said the provincial government had been asking the centre for the National Finance Commission Award, but the federal government was not willing to do so.

Syed Abdur Rasheed, the lone MPA of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal in the house, demanded that at least one per cent of the total budget be allocated for health.

He also asked the Sindh government to earmark separate funds to cope with the epidemic and run campaigns to persuade the people to adopt precautionary measures.

Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza said the budget allocated for the department was “meagre”. She was of the view that the women development department should be given grants so that welfare works could be carried out for deserving women.

Those who spoke included PPP’s Sohail Anwar Siyal and Syed Sardar Shah and PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman and Dr Seema Zia.

Earlier, the house agreed to extend the pre-budget discussion for a day on Friday.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021

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