By Mohammad Hussain Khan
HYDERABAD, Nov 7: Eminent water expert and former chairman of the Technical Committee on Water Resources A.N.G Abbasi has said his report on water should be buried once and for all as no one seems to be ready to implement it.
He was speaking at an interactive session on “Pakistan’s Water Sector Strategy and Alternative strategy to Resolve Critical Water Issues” organised by Shirkat Gah in collaboration with Pakistan Network of River, Dam and People (PNRDP) at the Sindhi Language Authority auditorium.
Mr Abbasi said Pakistan was counted among the countries facing shortage of water and the issue dated back to the Indus Water Treaty when three rivers were given away to India.
He said that important issues had been made terms of reference of the technical committee and he had dwelt at length on each of them.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the water management and operation of canals besides the hydraulic conditions, their operations and distribution.
“I think those in powers don’t value the importance of water and we don’t realise our past mistakes as well,” he said.
He said: “We are adamant that these mistakes should not be rectified and I don’t see any plans of moving ahead in the right direction.”
He said that people had pinned hopes that the PPP would realise its responsibilities to redress their grievances, but the result was for everyone to see.
Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Minister for Irrigation Syed Murad Ali Shah said distribution of water by the Indus River System Authority among provinces on the basis of three-tier formula had no legal sanction, therefore it was illegal.
He ruled out any new water accord in the presence of 1991 Water Apportionment Accord for irrigation water’s distribution in the country and pledged that the report of A.N.Abbasi on water resources would be implemented.
He said that the water accord was by and large implemented till 1999. But, he said, Irsa had no legal authority to distribute water on the basis of three-tier or any other formula, adding that the only approved formula available with Irsa is 1991’s accord.
He said: “We have to demand our rights but we can’t stifle the voice of Punjab Assembly as far water issue is concerned.”
“It is often Sindh versus the rest of provinces on the issue of water as even Balochistan accuses us of water theft. It is because of follies of our own Sindhi people. I won’t name them,” he said.
The minister said that he did not believe that any new accord would be workable to get water more than what was enshrined in the 91 accord.
He said that when water was stored in Mangla then Sindh did not had water in Kharif season while it was denied water from Jehlum river.
He said that the federal government was approached to control Irsa on operation of Taunsa-Panjnad and Chashma-Jhelum link canals.
He said that as long as the PPP government was there, Kalabagh Dam would not be built, adding that it were some Sindhi-speaking people who had accorded approval to greater Thal canal.
“Still we are pursuing this issue, though we have not achieved success because one province and vested quarters have their interest in it,” he remarked.
He emphasised the need for water conservation and said a Rs62 billion programme had been taken in hand to line 509 water channels and out of them work on 107 had started.
He said that drip irrigation system had some negative aspects.
He said that the president had called for treating saline water of the Right Bank Outfall Drain and consultants had submitted a preliminary report on the issue.
He said that from Hamal Lake to Manchhar Lake half a dozen treatment plants would be set up to treat saline water for irrigation and a desalination plant would be set up in periphery of Manchhar Lake to make it drinkable.
“I will not give my consent unless I am satisfied as far as Manchhar lake’s rehabilitation is concerned. I have told them to provide alternate source of water through Rice canal or Indus for filling Manchhar,” he said.
He said that factories would be asked not to dispose of their untreated water into Indus, failing which they would not be allowed to release effluent in Indus.
He deplored the state of irrigation department and said that officials working there only know how to write account books.
Sindh Water Committee secretary Nazeer Memon, Sindh Democratic Forum’s Abrar Kazi and Zulfikar Halepoto and Sindh Abadgar Board’s Bashir Nizamani also spoke on the occasion.
Sunday, 08 Nov, 2009
Courtesy: Daily Dawn <<Read more