ANGRY growers assemble at Qambar byass on their way to the residence of irrigation minister on Thursday.—Dawn
ANGRY growers assemble at Qambar byass on their way to the residence of irrigation minister on Thursday.—Dawn

LARKANA: A caravan of growers, which was going to Larkana to stage a demonstration outside the residence of Sindh irrigation minister on Thursday in protest against acute shortage of water in the command areas of Saifullah Magsi branch, SKT branch and Warah Canal, was stopped by police at Qambar bypass.

The protesting growers, who were coming from Shahdadkot, Mirokhan, Qubo Saeed Khan and their adjoining areas, were enraged to find trucks parked across the road and heavy contingent of police to stop their march on the minister’s house.

Sindh Abadgar Board Qambar-Shahdadkot chapter’s president Abdul Khalique Khoso, Jeeand Jarwar, Mir Khalid Khoso and other board leaders, asked police to remove the blockade and allow them to go to Larkana but police refused.

The protesters later held talks with Deputy Commissioner Qamar Raza Baloch and SSP Dr Sumair Noor Channa who had arrived there and then held a meeting with Right Bank chief engineer Nisar Shaikh and superintendent engineer Saifullah Magsi branch circle Mohammad Ali Zardari and others at the DC office.

The SAB leaders complained that acute shortage of water in the channels and their branches and tributaries had seriously hit paddy cultivation. The distributaries were running dry and even humans were facing difficulty in getting drinking water while animals were dying of thirst, they said.

They said that influential landlords were stealing water through illegal pipes inserted in Saifullah Magsi branch and other channels under the very nose of irrigation staff who preferred to look the other way.

They demanded that not only the pipes be removed but water be provided at the tail end. The minister had ordered removal of illegal pipes at a meeting with SAB a week ago and vowed to provide water at the tail end but it did not happen, they said.

“Hence, we planned to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the minister’s house to submit a protest note,” they said.

The officers assured the growers of removing the illegal pipes from Khirthar Canal, SKT branch and Saifullah Magsi branch and ensuring availability of water at the tail end within four days. Rangers’ help would be sought in dismantling the illegal pipes, they said.

After the officers’ assurances, the growers called off the protest but warned that if they failed to keep their word the growers would stage widespread protests.

MIRPURKHAS: Two groups of growers held demonstrations on Sanghar-Mirpurkhas road and Mirpurkhas-Mirwah Gorchani road near Bilaro Shakh on Thursday to protest against acute shortage of water and rampant corruption in irrigation department.

The protesting growers who blocked the Mirpurkhas-Sanghar road told media persons that the water shortage in the command area of East Jamrao canal was created by corrupt officials who were receiving huge bribe for supply of water to influential landlords.

The other group of protesters, who blocked Mirpurkhas-Mirwah Gorchani road, said that tail-end areas of Bilaro Shakh were deprived of their share in water and cultivated crops of cotton, chilli and sugar cane were withering without water.

Later, police and irrigation officials persuaded the protesters to call off protest and disperse peacefully.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2021

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