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HYDERABAD: Provincial Minister for Agriculture Mohammad Ismail Rahu said IRSA had damaged the agriculture of Sindh by creating artificial shortage of water in the province. He said Punjab was constantly stealing water from TP and Chashma Jhelum Canal and due to shortage of water, cotton, rice and sugarcane crops were expected to suffer and added that mangoes and vegetables produce had been declined due to shortage of water.

He was addressing a press conference in the committee room of Directorate of Agriculture Extension, Shahbaz Building Hyderabad today.

Muhammad Ismail Rahu said the federal minister was constantly false statements that Sindh was being given more water than its share while today the flow of water from Guddu was 69,000 cusecs according to which the water shortage was 40 percent. He informed that the flow of water on upstream of Kotri Barrage was 10900 cusecs and on downstream only 200 cusecs and water shortage in Kotri downstream was 65 percent which would further damage the agriculture of Sindh especially the rice crop.

Rahu said the cotton and sugarcane crops were quite less than last year and the growers and growers organizations of Sindh were protesting to end the water shortage and save Sindh’s agriculture.

He informed that in Sindh, rice crop was cultivated on 1,976,000 acres which we exported but this year its cultivation was being delayed due to water shortage.

Replying to a question, he said the distance from Guddu to Kotri Barrage was 566 km and the river bed in Sindh was wide and the land was also straight so it took 15 days for the water to reach but due to the delay in its arrival, the growers were facing water shortage therefore, some water was being released from Punjab but due to delay in its arrival, the growers were facing water shortage.

Responding to a question, the agriculture minister said fungus disease had appeared in the cotton crop and in this regard a team of experts from Agriculture University Tando Jam was conducting research to find a solution.

To a question regarding the distribution of water within the province, he said the lining of canals and the best system were being brought by the Sindh government after which the complaint would be resolved as the government was committed to take all possible measures in this regard and added that efforts were being made to take legal action against those involved in water theft.

Replying to another question, he said the purpose of today’s meeting was to reduce the losses during the current water shortage through cultivation of crops and better planning.

He further said after the warning of water shortage by IRSA, the Department of Agriculture had informed the farmers through social media and other information sources but the cotton crop in Sindh was important and the farmers had already started cultivating it. He informed that as compare to Punjab it was cultivated earlier in Sindh that’s why better coordination was needed.

Replying to a question, he said PPP was fighting the case of Sindh in every legal forum along with the National and Provincial Assemblies and the purpose of setting up the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) was the judicious distribution of water among the provinces according to 1991 Water Accord.

“The agreement has to be implemented, but when the institutions do not fulfill their constitutional responsibilities, then the last resort for justice was protest”, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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