BAHAWALPUR: The Patisar lake at Lal Sohanra National Park has been affected by a short supply of the canal water provided by the irrigation department.
The flora and fauna in the lake have been damaged and the aquatic life is in danger.
Conservator of Forests (Bahawalpur Division) Gauhar Mushtaq told Dawn that the Patisar lake in the national park was spread over 4,700 acre.
He said the lake, with unique features of water, desert and forest together at one place, was declared international wetland under the Ramsar Convention in 1960s.
He claimed that during the late President Ayub Khan’s period, a special water quota of 500 cusec daily from Desert Branch Canal was reserved for the lake and its aquatic life.
Mr Gauhar said there were two outlets for incoming and outgoing water from the canal. The irrigation department did not have any loss and wastage of its water being supplied to lake from the canal, he said.
During the previous years, even due to short supply of the canal water for the lake, the irrigation department had been leasing out the contract to private parties of fish to the tune of hundreds of thousands of rupees. But, he regretted, that the irrigation department still supplied the required quantity of canal water to the lake.
The forest department also made efforts to make the lake a picnic spot for the tourists and visitors. For this purpose, the department established a children’s park with necessary equipment for their sports, three huts for the visitors’ overnight stay and the facilities of washrooms. A watchtower had also been built around the lake, he said.
During the winter season, he said, the migratory birds’ arrival had also been affected as due to less water the birds coming from Siberian countries preferred to settle at other wetlands.
He expressed apprehension that the lake could dry up if the situation persisted and it would be a setback to the government’s efforts to develop the lake into a novel picnic spot. He drew the attention of government’s higher-ups towards the deteriorating condition of the lake and demanded that the irrigation department restore the supply.
Bahawalpur Irrigation Zone Chief Engineer (CE) Khalid Bashir told Dawn that the department had no problem in supplying the canal water to the lake as it had adequate quantity of canal water. He said the excess water returned to the canal through its regular channel.
However, he said, the only problem was silting of the lake spread over thousands of acres. He said the canal water could not prove beneficial for the lake and its aquatic life due to silt and stressed the need for desilting.
WHEAT CENTRE: Multan Division Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmed paid a surprise visit to Jallah Arain wheat procurement centre in Lodhran.
According to a handout, the commissioner had the truck weighed to ensure that its load of wheat was accurate.
The DFO said 96,000 tonnes of wheat would be procured from Lodhran.
Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2022