LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has said that absence of telemetry system at barrages is the main factor to blame in stakeholders’ failure to establish as to how 16,000 cusecs between Taunsa and Guddu is still unaccounted for.

Mr Khuhro, in a press statement issued here on Friday, said that Sindh badly needed 20,000 cusecs more water at this crucial juncture as was suggested by the National Assembly’s committee on water distribution. He argued that despite clear observations and findings by the committee, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) miserably failed to implement the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord.

Currently, there should be 100,000-cusec flow from Taunsa but it was 79,000 cusecs being released into it, which indicated a shortfall of 16,000 cusecs, he said.

Sindh being lower riparian had the first right on Indus water and this was internationally recognised principle, he asserted.

Under the prevailing conditions, he feared, drastic effects on Kharif crops could not be ruled out. He said Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad being flood canals were illegally opened at this time with a flow of 20,000 cusecs but Irsa was sitting as a silent spectator which was quite condemnable.

Mr Khhuro said Sindh had rejected the three-tier formula for water distribution because it was against the spirit of the 1991 Water Accord. He urged the prime minister to ensure the distribution in line with para-II of the accord.

He said Irsa should be bound down to ensure implementation of the accord and a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) should immediately be convened to address Sindh’s reservations.

At present, Sindh was facing an acute shortage of water due to the “theft” of it 16,000 cusecs while Punjab was getting more than its due share, he said, and demanded immediate closure of Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjand link canals. Water shortages should be shared equally by all stakeholders, he stressed.

About Rice Canal — the main source of water for paddy crop — he said unfortunately this canal, which had a capacity of 21,000 cusecs, could carry on 7,000 cusecs in peak season due to huge silt piled up in its bed.

He said a Rs160 million scheme for de-silting from Ruk Complex towards Indus River in the RD-14 command area of Rice Canal was put in operation. After its completion, the water quantum in the canal would increase to almost double, he said. This would also improve flow of water in the channel and growers would be able to reap good crops, he added.

Mr Khuhro visited the canal’s command area to inspect the ongoing de-silting work.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2022

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