MUZAFFARGARH: A breach in the Muzaffargarh Canal near Head Bakaini in Jatoi tehsil on Tuesday inundated standing what crop on dozens of acres, while the water also entered houses near Bet Mir Hazar.

Some of the locals said when they contacted the irrigation officials concerned to report the breach, they instead of reaching the spot to plug it, asked them to inform the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) officials posted at Taunsa Barrage about it.

According to the locals, the irrigation officials claimed that only high-ups of the department had the authority to order closure of the canal.

The locals lamented that the breach damaged their wheat crop that was almost ready for the harvest, accusing the irrigation department high-ups of embezzling the funds meant for canal banks repairs to prevent such incidents.

Locals allege lack of response from irrigation department

Following the breach, announcements were made from mosques, asking the people to reach the spot for plugging the breach on self-help basis.

Some of the candidates intending to contest the upcoming elections from the area also reached the spot to show their concern for the potential voters.

Muzaffargarh Canal Executive Engineer Mr Hafeez alleged that some people had been involved in the canal breach, saying it would soon be plugged. Some of the affected farmers said they tried to contact Deputy Commissioner Agha Zaheer Abbas, who was busy holding Jashan-i-Baharan at the Fiaz Park, along with other officials of the district administration.

They appealed to the caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi to visit the area to personally witness the plight of local farmers, who had already suffered huge financial losses because of the floods and now the canal water damaged their standing wheat crop.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2023

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