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Irsa accused of depriving Punjab of essential water supplies




  • A press statement quoted the President of the Western Punjab chapter of the board Chaudhry Abdul Jabbar, President of its southern Punjab chapter Fayyazul Hssan Bhutta, President of its central Punjab chapter Noor Elahi Tatla and Dr Noor of its northern Punjab chapter that Irsa had cut Punjab’s water supplies at a time when standing crops of cotton, sugarcane, paddy, vegetables and fodder sown over millions of acres in half of Punjab urgently needed watering for their survival.

    They said if full canal irrigation water supplies were not restored immediately, these crops would be destroyed and poor farmers would suffer irreparable financial losses, adding that it would also lead to a substantial decrease in textile and hide/skin/leather products’ exports.

    They said Sindh’s dominance over Irsa, which was under the control og the federal government, proved the fact that the PPP government belonged to just one province.

    Criticising the Sharif brothers, they said that the so-called protectors of Punjab’s honour had struck a bargain over economic interests and the well-being of poor farmers, adding that they had already “sold out 19 percent water share of Punjab to Sindh under the 1991 water apportionment accord”.

    They said aridity in Punjab would increase as running tube-wells on diesel-run engines was economically infeasible and power outages lasting as much as 18 hours also barred growers from operating tube-wells on electricity.

    Accusing industrialists and politicians of colluding with the ruling PPP and PML M-N, they said that both parties were leading coalitions at the centre and in Punjab, fleecing the people, specially farmers, in shape of hikes in the price of diesel, high electricity tariff, expensive fertilisers and other agriculture inputs.

    Reiterating their demand for immediately restoring irrigation water, they said that sugarcane, cotton, rice, fodder, vegetables and other crops urgently needed water at this stage all over Punjab.

    Stressing the need for building water reservoirs, they said that it was high time to start building Kalabagh dam, adding that it was vital to help the country overcome energy and water crisis.

    President of Punjab Water Council Hamid Malhi accused Irsa of mismanaging the country’s precious water resources and not filling the Mangla Dam, which was crucial for sowing and maturing winter crops, including the wheat crop in Punjab.

    He said that Sindh’s entire canal irrigation network, if entirely filled, could barely handle 135,000 cusecs of water, whereas Irsa had been providing 156,000 cusecs of water at Guddu, 115,000 cusecs at Sukkur and 43,000 cusecs at Kotri barrages. The Sindh Irrigation Department, he said, was wasting away more than 6,000 cusecs water into the Indus delta whereas Punjab’s canals were running short of water supplies.

    FFC RIVERS SITUATION AND WEATHER FORECAST

    Meanwhile, the Flood Forecasting Centre has said that River Kabul was flowing in low flood at Nowshera. All other major rivers are flowing below low flood levels, it said.

    It said that the water inflow in four live rivers has constantly been decreasing at their rim stations, coming down from 377,000 cusecs to 316,000 cusecs over the past two days, a fall of 60,000 cusecs.

    The water inflow in River Indus on Sunday was recorded at 175,000 cusecs at Tarbela, in River Kabul at Nowshera 52,000 cusecs, in River Jhelum at Mangla 34,500 cusecs and in River Chenab at Marala – Sialkot 55,000 cusecs.

    Irsa is releasing 297,000 cusecs into the country-wide irrigation network for sowing and maturing of Kharif crops, which are considered to be the backbone of the national economy. Irsa has stopped filling of Tarbela Dam to meet the water needs of provinces.

    MET OFFICE WEATHER REPORT

    A seasonal low lies over Northwest Balochistan and adjoining areas with its trough extending Southeast wards. Monsoon currents are penetrating into most parts of the country.

    WEAHER FORECAST FOR TODAY

    Mainly Hot and Humid weather is expected in most parts of the country, however rain/thundershower is expected at isolated places such as Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala,Lhaore,Bahawalpur divisions,Southeastern Sindh and Azad Kashmir.

    WEATHER DURING NEXT 48 HOURS

    Mainly Hot and Humid weather is expected in most parts of the country, however thundershower/rain is likely at few places of Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan and its adjoining hilly area.

    WEATHER ON SUNDAY

    Weather remained hot and humid in most parts of the country. However, isolated thundershower/rain occurred at Lahore.

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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