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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources on Thursday constituted a committee to probe reasons for the massive reduction in water reaching Guddu Barrage released from Taunsa barrage, after witnessing a verbal fight between Sindh and Punjab for the second consecutive day on sharing of water between the two provinces.

Presided over by Nawab Yousf Talpur, the National Assembly Standing Committee formed the committee on “missing water” from Taunsa to Guddu, comprising Khalid Magsi, MNA, Riazul–Haq, MNA, Secretary Irrigation of both provinces, Joint Secretary Ministry of Water Resources, Mehar Ali Shah and technical teams of Wapda and Irrigation Departments of both provinces. The proposal of the committee was also supported by Minister for Water Resources, Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah.

The Committee will start water measurement from Sukkur barrage towards Guddu barrage and then Taunsa barrage to determine how many thousands of cusecs of water is not reaching Guddu barrage from Taunsa.

The case of Sindh government was presented by Sindh Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro and his team and Member Sindh/ Chairman IRSA, Zahid Junejo whereas Secretary irrigation Punjab Capt. Saif Anjum (retired) and Member IRSA Punjab pleaded the case of their province.

The Committee was informed that 67000 cusecs of water was released from Taunsa barrage but 34000 cusecs of water reached Guddu, which shows that 33,000 cusecs of water is missing.

Punjab, Sindh wrangling over water

There was strong apprehension that the missing water is being pumped by the farmers of Punjab which is why less water is reaching Sindh due to which the province is unable to feed its entire perennial canal system whereas non-perennial canals are completely dry.

The representatives of Sindh government termed the three-tier formula as illegal and not a part of the Water Accord whereas Punjab claimed that to distribute water if it is less than 114 MAF was very much part of the Accord.

Sindh Minister also held decisions taken by IRSA as illegal, saying that it’s just a committee which is taking illegal decisions and depriving Sindh of its legal right of water.

Chairman IRSA who represents Sindh at IRSA said he acknowledges that the water regulator has failed to play its due role in distribution of water amongst the provinces as per the formula.

On a number of occasions Sindh Minister announced that he would leave the meeting if the province is not heard properly.

The report of water arrival at Guddu came under question as, according to one of the reports of the representative of Punjab at Guddu confirmed 34000 cusecs water arrived at Guddu. However, according to Irsa Member Punjab, the representative of Punjab claims that he was forced to sign the report.

Punjab Secretary Irrigation said that he wanted the issue resolved amicably so that neither province is deprived of its due share adding that presently Punjab is not being given its due share of water.

Khalid Magsi, Member Committee argued that the dispute on water should be resolved amicably to avert any untoward incident adding that people in other provinces have different views. He further stated that in Balochistan each pool of electricity is being protected by security agencies.

After hearing heated debate between Sindh and Punjab on Water Accord, current distribution of water among provinces and ‘missing water’ from Taunsa to Guddu, a committee was constituted comprising political, administrative and technical people which will submit its report within a few days so that mistrust between provinces is sorted out.

The committee was further informed the temperature in Skardu is 28. If it is maintained, then the situation will get better soon. Mangla Dam is dependent on rainwater.

Minister for Water Resources, Khursheed Shah said that water scarcity is from God but the Ministry will try that the four provinces get their share of water.

“I hope Allah, the Almighty, will give us much water by June 30, 2022,” he said adding that he would ask Punjab to give 300 cusecs water for Cholistan.

According to an official press release the meeting reviewed water situation in the country. IRSA officials gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the formula for distribution of water. At the suggestion of the Federal Minister for Water Resources, a committee comprising representatives of Punjab, Sindh and the Federation was formed which will measure the inflow and outflow of water at Sukkur and Guddu Barrage and their sub-canals tomorrow. It will present its proposals to the government regarding equitable distribution.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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