Drainage work in Sindhri hits snags as machinery withdrawn

Published October 3, 2022
VOLUNTEERS arrange food packets for distribution among flood-affected people at a camp set up by Pakistan Red Crescent Society at Jinnahbagh, Larkana.—PPI
VOLUNTEERS arrange food packets for distribution among flood-affected people at a camp set up by Pakistan Red Crescent Society at Jinnahbagh, Larkana.—PPI

MIRPURKHAS: A large number of villagers staged a demonstration at Feeder Shakh in Sindhri taluka on Sunday in protest against withdrawal by district administration of two excavators, which were being used for draining out stagnant floodwaters from their settlements and farmland after one and a half month of flooding.

Member of Mirpurkhas district council Rais Mir Mohammad Mari, Shahjahan Mari and Haji Essa Khan Mari, who led the protesters, demanded the authorities concerned and Pakistan Peoples Party leaders take notice of the district administration’s irresponsible act. The two machines were working in place of 15 originally required for the drainage of floodwaters from the flooded area, still the machines were withdrawn, they said.

They told media persons that the excavators were being used for digging up drains to dispose of floodwaters. A Beldar, low-ranked official of irrigation department, Niaz Bhambhro was allegedly supervising the work instead of the SDO concerned, they said.

They said the administration inundated their farmland and villages after breaching dykes of drainage drains to save farmland of influential landlords in Sindhri taluka at the expense of a large population who had to shift to safe places after the manmade flooding.

They deplored that the grade one official was handling the important work of digging up drains, desilting canals and erecting protective dykes.

They said the authorities used a flawed strategy to shift floodwaters to other areas through cemented pipes which posed serious threat of inundation to the villages of Mohammad Jumman Mari, Punhal Khan Mari, Sheroo Mari, Misri Khan Mari, Badal Khan Mari etc.

They rejected the ill-conceived strategy and said that they would suffer huge losses as they could not cultivate wheat and other crops on their farmland because the district administration had failed miserably to drain out floodwaters.

They said the district administration had failed to clear the flooded areas despite clear directives of Mirpurkhas commissioner Syed Ajaz Ali Shah. In reality, the deputy commissioner wanted to save the Rs50 million rain emergency fund which had been released by the Sindh government for draining out floodwaters, they claimed.

They condemned the DC and director of Nara Canal for their failure to take serious steps to rid their area of water.

They deplored that they had offered the authorities to use their farmland for digging drains and drain out floodwaters but now Sindhri taluka assistant commissioner Jhamandas had refused to cooperate.

The administration had failed to persuade influential landlords to allow them to give passage to floodwaters through their lands, forcing officers to use flawed methods of giving unnecessary cuts in drains’ and canals’ dykes and installing cemented pipes, they said.

They demanded Sindh chief minister, Mirpurkhas commissioner and other authorities concerned take immediate notice of the problem and ensure the drainage work was accomplished under the SDO concerned with the help of required number of machines.

They demanded the flood-hit villagers be provided ration, anti-mosquito spray be carried out in their settlements and they be handed out mosquito nets without further delay.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022

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