LARKANA: The Larkana circuit bench of the Sindh High Court has expressed its dissatisfaction over performance of irrigation department in draining stagnant floodwaters from affected areas of Larkana division, observing that the department failed to make any tangible efforts in this regard.
“We are deeply worried about the worsening situation and cannot ignore miseries of flood-hit people, to whom even government has stopped providing food and shelter while they are unable to cultivate their farmland which remains under water,” the bench observed on Friday.
A division bench comprising Justice Shamsuddin Abbasi and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito directed the chief secretary and secretary of irrigation while hearing 43 identical petitions pertaining to post-rain situation to make serious efforts for draining out water from 10 talukas of the division, which were badly hit by floodwaters.
It asked the irrigation secretary to appear in court along with relevant record on next hearing and submit his report.
The petitioners’ counsel pointed out that food and health facilities were not being provided to marooned people in violation of earlier order of the court.
Larkana commissioner admits 10 talukas are still under floodwaters; bench seeks five-year report on fatalities on under-construction roads
“We are shocked to learn from all deputy commissioners of Larkana division that the government has stopped all relief activities like provision of food, medicines and other facilities in the rain-hit areas,” said the bench.
The court directed the chief of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to submit a report explaining why food and health facilities for flood victims had been stopped.
Five-year report of fatalities on road sought
The bench asked the National Highway Author-ity chairman to submit a detailed report on the number of lives lost in road accidents on under-construction Jamshoro-Sehwan road over the past five years.
It instructed senior superintendents of police of Jamshoro and Dadu, and DIG Motorway of Jamshoro section to submit reports showing number of passengers who had died in accidents on Indus Highway over the past five years.
The counsel for the petitioners drew the court’s attention to the unfinished work on the Jamshoro-Sehwan road that had been the main cause of accidents and deaths of scores of people.
The court asked the NHA chairman to also submit a report on the award of contract for the road’s construction and the cutoff date of its completion along with reasons for the delay in completion of the dual carriageway.
Larkana Commissioner Ghanwar Leghari admitted in his report that rainwater was still flooding 10 talukas — Dokri, Bakrani, Qubo Saeed Khan, Shahdadkot, Qambar, Warah, Nasirabad, Shikarpur, Lakhi and Garhi Khairo — of Larkana division. The project director of SCARP division submitted that out of 20 pumping stations, 16 were functioning to drain out stagnant water while three were reserved for irrigating farmland and one was out of order.
The court directed the SCARP officer to give a timeframe for draining out rainwater from the flood-hit areas but he was unable to come up with a proper reply.
The court observed that secretary of irrigation had sought time on previous hearing and vowed that floodwater would be disposed of within a month’s time but this did not happen.
The bench would again hear the petition on Dec 7.
Larkana commissioner along with DCs of Larkana and Dadu districts, director (operation) of PDMA, chief engineer irrigation of right bank of Indus, executive engineer of Rice Canal, Warah Canal and others appeared in the court.
Abdul Hamid Bhurgari, additional advocate general; Ghulam Asghar Khichi, deputy attorney general; Oshaq Ali Sangi, assistant attorney general; and Advocate Safdar Ghouri represented the NHA.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022