Sunday August 14, 2022

Sharjeel decries Irsa’s mechanism for water distribution

By our correspondents
May 23, 2022

Expressing grave concerns over water shortage in the province, Sindh Information and Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that a crisis-like situation has emerged in the barrages of Sindh.

A statement issued on Sunday quoted him as saying that the Kotri Barrage was facing 72 per cent shortage of water. He said that after shortage of both the irrigation and drinking water, it had become difficult to ensure the supply of water to industries.

He said the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) had failed to ensure water distribution among the provinces as per the water accord of 1991. For long, Irsa had been carrying out water distribution in accordance with a three-tier formula but that mechanism had no legal cover, Memon said.

He added that the three-tier formula had come to the fore after a meeting of a ministerial committee in 1994 but later, then chief executive of the country and ministry of water and power had abolished it on October 23, 2000.

The information minister said the water distribution among the federating units as per the three-tier formula violated the water accord of 1991. He added that Sindh alone had to bear the entire burden of water shortage in the river system of the country as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were exempted from sharing the burden.

He appealed to the river system authority to immediately close the flood canal in the upper region of the country. Memon made it clear that Sindh did not need water from the due share of any other province as it only demanded that Irsa ensure just distribution of water among the provinces.

He said that the everyday life of the people of Sindh had been badly affected due to acute water shortage as the farmers, women, senior citizens and children from Kashmore to the Keenjhar Lake had been left with no option but to take to the streets to protest against water shortage.

Orange Line

Memon also visited the segregated corridor of the Abdul Sattar Edhi Orange Line bus rapid transit (BRT) project on Sunday to review the pace of ongoing civil infrastructure development work, including completion of the bus depot and stations.

The Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) managing director, Capt (retd) Altaf Hussain Sario, and other SMTA officials were also present on the occasion. Nespak Consultant Rehan Zaman and the contractors of Package 1, Package 2 and Package 3 of the project briefed the minister on the ongoing work.

Memon ordered that in any case, the civil work should be completed by May 30. He said that all the work, including construction of an underground fuel tank, wastewater plant, shade at the depot, and installation of elevators should be completed in time.

He issued the directive that components of accelerators be imported from China by air instead of sea in order to complete their installation in the stipulated time. The transport minister said officers of the SMTA should monitor the work 24 hours and report should be submitted to him after every two hours.

“I want the work completed in all circumstances. I will not tolerate negligence,” he said, directing the contractors to increase the machinery and labour on the site. He assured the contractors that they would be made full payment. “I take the responsibility of your payments.”