MUZAFFARGARH: The government seems to be indifference to the area between Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Layyah districts that has been affected by erosion along the river Indus, damaging hundreds of acres of agricultural land, mango orchards, houses and roads. The local residents, angry at the indifference, held a demonstration and walked to the bank of the Indus while holding the national flags a few days ago.

Due to the erosion, Basti Amin Chowk and its bazaar have been swept away by the river while acres of the agricultural land and orchards owned by farmers have been damaged. According to Shafi Khan and Mian Mujahid, many owners of big chunks of agricultural land and mango orchards have been displaced and rendered homeless.

At Mauza Chainwala, hundreds of residents of the affected settlements marched to the Indus river holding the national flag to attract the Punjab government and the members of the assembly. The protestors shouted slogans in favour of their demands.

Addressing the protesters, Muhammad Yusuf Baloch, Hafiz Sadiq, Shahzad, Allah Diwaya and others said the members of the assembly of Dera Ghazi Khan district could easily get the dyke constructed along the river.

The protesters demanded the federal and Punjab governments as well the members of the assembly from their area to immediately construct a dyke at Mauza Chainwala so that the area could be saved from further destruction.

In Layyah also, the Indus river erosion caused damage at Karor Lal Esan while at village Rakhawan, it destroyed the land along its banks.

Due to the land erosion, the people of affected areas have started migrating to safer places. Sources say that so far 20 settlements, nine mosques, three government schools have been swallowed by the river and about 1,000 families have been affected.

The residents of the affected areas have appealed to Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz to take immediate steps to save the villages and land along the river.

Layyah Deputy Commissioner Amira Baidar visited the affected area in her district once but work has not started to stop the land erosion.

An EXEN of the irrigation department said the river erosion was a natural phenomenon while the department was helpless in this regard because there were no funds to take steps to stop the erosion. He said only some spurs could be constructed after approval of the secretary irrigation.

Other irrigation officials claimed that the department had taken notice of the erosion and they had submitted a report to high-ups.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2024

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