Farmers, growers and people from different walks of life came on the roads in as many as 20 towns of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions to register their protest against the unavailability of water in their respective canals, irrigation distributaries and channels.
The protesters, carrying pitchers after marching on different streets in various towns of the province, staged demonstrations to draw the attention of the high-ups of both Sindh and the federal governments to provide drinking water for them and their livestock.
Speaking to the media, the protesters deplored the fact that whatever share Sindh was getting under the given situation was injudiciously distributed among the stakeholders, alleging that only influential landlords were being provided with water despite the fact people in several districts were forced to drink contaminated water.
The leaders of the various farmers’ organisations – including Save Badin Action Committee, Laar Abadgar Forum, and Sindh Abadgar Association – talking to this reporter lamented the fact that the provincial ministers were directly holding the functionaries of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) responsible for the worst water crisis. They asked senior federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah about the actual position of the water flows in the system.
“It is high time Shah comes up with the actual situation and ensures the allocation of water among the federating units as per 1990 Water Accord,” Mir Noor Ahmed Talpur, chief of Save Badin Action Committee, said.
Talpur said that it was quite concerning that the Kotri Barrage had been facing a shortage of over 60 percent for the past many weeks. “Any move by the Sindh government to impose rice crop cultivation would be resisted,” he said, claiming that rice was the only chief crop of the year in most of the districts of lower Sindh.
Meanwhile, thousands of rights activists, leaders and workers of different political parties took to social media and held the rulers responsible for the ongoing water crisis.
When contacted, the officials of the Irrigation Department told Minute Mirror that Kotri and Sukkur barrages were facing the worst shortage of water in 63 years. They hoped that water flows would reach Guddu Barrage within the next few days and then the situation would begin improving with the release of 30 thousand cusecs of water from Taunsa.