HYDERABAD: Sindh Abadgar Ittehad (SAI) has blamed existence of over 2,000 illegal lift machines along both embankments of upper Nara Canal for continuing imposition of rotation programme despite additional water flows released into the river by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa).

The Ittehad leaders who met here the other day with its head Nawab Zubair Talpur in the chair regretted that because of these machines growers had to wait for 21 days to get water.

The meeting noted Irsa was supplying water as per requirement of Sindh but thanks to rampant theft of water, corruption and inefficiency the irrigation department continued with the rotation programme, while tail-end areas of the province were not receiving water at all.

It said that west branch of Nara Canal was lying closed at present whereas rice was being cultivated illegally in its command areas despite government’s ban on the cultivation of high-delta crop in the area.

The meeting announced support for ongoing sit-in by Tail-end Growers Association in Mirpurkhas district and said that Fazalani regulator on Tando Soomro Shakh fed by Naseer branch be reopened immediately. The water channel had been sealed unjustifiably, it said.

Mr Talpur said that tariff on electricity bills had been substantially increased and in addition 14pc interest was being planned on the bills, which was condemnable.

The meeting said that this year above normal monsoon rains were being predicted but no precautionary measures had been taken yet. The government must review arrangements in this regard immediately, it said.

It demanded that official rate of paddy crop be fixed at Rs4,000 per 40kg and Rs500 per 40 kg be fixed for sugar cane while cotton’s price should be declared at Rs12,000 per 50kg.

The meeting demanded that GST should be withdrawn on import of tractor and said that sugar’s export should be allowed this year because the sweetener’s cost was $735 per tonne, which had dropped to $550 a tonne.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2024

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