THIS is with reference to the report ‘Sudden collapse of Sukkur Barrage gate stuns irrigation minister, officials’ (June 22) and the article ‘The fall of Gate 47’ (July 1). The subsequent imposition of emergency and the closure of all the seven canals have put the crops and agricultural sector of Sindh in peril.

As highlighted 11 years ago in my letter ‘Alternative barrages must for Sindh agriculture’ (Aug 6, 2013), the barrage is 92 years old and its condition has been deteriorating for years due to lack of modern tail gauges and poor maintenance. Despite warnings from many an expert, the government has not taken adequate measures to address these issues.

Moving on, Punjab has already built alternative barrages, while Sindh seems to be neglecting this critical issue. I must say that alternative barrages should be built to save Sindh’s agriculture as well. The provincial government should hire competent engineers from Sindh, and international experts from reputed organisations to work on such a project. The fate of the agricultural sector and the livelihoods of millions of people depend on it.

This is a crucial issue that needs urgent attention of the relevant authorities. Against this backdrop, there is no point in waiting for yet another crisis to hit us, as we already have our hands full in the wake of economic challenges and food insecurity that are growing by the day.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Memon
Naushahro Feroze

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2024

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