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April 21, 2019

‘Canal system causes water losses equal to six dams’

Business

April 21, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan loses water equivalent to six dams of Mangla and Tarbela structures due to the existing canal system in the country, a PM adviser said on Saturday.

Adviser to the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Husain said the country is wasting water through the canal system.

“If canal water wastage is stopped there will be no need of dam in the country… dams are expensive structures,” Husain said, addressing a book launching ceremony. The book, ‘Economy of Modern Sindh’, was co-authored by Husain, who has been the State Bank of Pakistan’s Governor.

The PM adviser said water discharge downstream Kotri barrage is needed to keep the mangrove forests alive and shrimp nurseries intact.

Upper and lower riparian issues in the irrigation system affected the province. “If irrigation water is charged the issue would be resolved.”

On a question, Husain said land reforms in Sindh will not have any major impact over the economy of the province. “They are not needed now,” he added. “Such reforms could have benefited the people in 1960s.”

The adviser said land is distributed among the shareholders under an Islamic law and further fabrication is not required. “Fabricated lands could not be used for big farming and there laser leveling is also a difficult task.”

Husain said rural as well urban economy in Sindh would improve if trust persists among the stakeholders. “Any development in the rural centres will have positive impact over the urban economy,” he added. “You must have confidence in the system, don’t expect an overnight change.”

The PM adviser said there is a misconception and propaganda that the 18th amendment would be repealed. But, he said, only 18th amendment could not provide the autonomy at the grass-root level. “Provinces must delegate authority and power to the local governments.”

The adviser said the book discusses various social gaps between the rural and urban centres. Rural women work without money, he added.

Husain said Sindh governments spent a lot of resources in health and education sectors, “but there has been a little change”. Political parties sharing the government powers, both rural and urban, want quota in jobs, and they don’t follow merit.

The PM adviser said huge potential exists for the development of Sindh.

“There is a very big coastline, which could be developed for fisheries and tourism,” he added. “Similarly, livestock and halal meat can be exported. Workforce could also be developed.”

Executive Director Institute of Business Administration Farrukh Iqbal conducted the dialogue ceremony, which was attended by citizens, faculty, former alumni and students.

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