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ISLAMABAD: The wrangling between members of Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on water distribution mechanism on Tuesday turned into a full-fledged confrontation, when Member Punjab and Chairman Irsa reportedly threw a book at Member Sindh and called him "foolish." This was witnessed just a day after the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources during which it was decided to appoint inspectors on barrages in Sindh to monitor inflows and outflows. Following the NA Committee meeting, Irsa convened a meeting to discuss current water situation and renovation of Irsa offices. The meeting was attended by IRSA Authority and Director Operations.

Talking to Business Recorder, Member Sindh, Zahid Junejo, said he did nothing to provoke anyone during the meeting and on the contrary, he was insulted with no respect for his age.

In reply to a question, he said, he did not raise any objection to the opening of Chashma Jhelum link canal but requested not to open Taunsa Panjnad (TP) canal.

"We do not raise any objection on CJ link canal as Greater Thal canal is formally mentioned in the Water Accord but Rangpur canal is not mentioned in the Accord. When I asked Chairman Irsa to refer to the Accord and that there is no mention of Rangpur canal, he became irritated and threw the book at me and used uncivilized words," he added.

After this unfortunate incident the meeting ended with no vote of thanks after Chairman Irsa and other participants left the venue.

Answering another question, he said, as the issue was highlighted on television screens, Sohail Anwar Sial, Minister Sindh, telephoned him and enquired about the situation.

According to Irsa, the meeting decided to open TP link canal after Punjab released 500 cusecs of its share of water.

"Water has been released in TP link canal after reducing water from Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh canals to feed the closed Rangpur canal," said the Irsa spokesperson.

Member Sindh, Zahid Junejo raised objection on opening of TP canal. However, Chairman IRSA/ Member Punjab maintained that the TP canal is being opened in accordance with clause D of Water Accord 1991.

Irsa Spokesperson however stated that there was no confrontation between Chairman and Member Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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