by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
.. Indus Delta Development Program (DDP) has several articles on how Sindh’s delta region is getting destroyed systematically by the greediness of one upper riparian province. The article “The green postures of Indus Delta are turning into desert and lifeless” traces the prosperity of this area from Kalhora rule to the destructive transformation of this area since 1947. During Kalhora era, 170 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of water used to flow into the delta compared to 5-6 MAF that is being allowed now.
An article published in the Daily news on April 10, 2010 says “… Indus delta was dying and at least 35 MAF water flow was required downstream Kotri on permanent basis for its restoration, otherwise the delta would completely vanish and the sea would erode the coastal land”.
The magazine article says that where as twenty years ago delta area consisted of 262,000 hectares of land but it has now been reduced to 70,000 hectares. The article further says that according to the report issued in 2002 by Pakistan Revenue Board, 33% of delta region was under sea water. The article also says that from total 3,769,078 acres of land in Badin and Thatto districts of Sindh, 1,200,000 acres of land has already fallen victim to sea water.
Another article in the DDP magazine is titled “Sorrows of destroying Villages of Delta”. This article describes the observations of a NGO inspection team that recently visited several villages in the delta region. The team found a village that had 28 houses but it was completely empty. Upon further inquiries in the neighboring area, the team learnt that not only from that village, but inhabitants from several other villages in the area had migrated to cities and towns of Sindh in search of their livelihood due to the lack of river water for their lands and their homes.
The last page of the article makes a heart-felt appeal by saying the most beautiful area of Sindh is slowly dying. The economic conditions of local people have been destroyed and even the unique delta culture is dying. One by one, lakes and forests are disappearing. The educational and health care facilities in the area are receiving less and less attention. The industrial discharge from sugar mills and other industrial discharge are taking a huge toll of this area pushing it more and more towards its complete destruction. The article then asks a question from its readers “Where do we seek justice for destruction of Indus Delta?”
Are we able to answer this question?
I am not sure if there is a solution in sight for the poor people of Indus delta other than if the people of Punjab demand their government to allow 35 MAF of water beyond Kotri barrage.
May I suggest that a specific resolution on the plight of the Indus Delta people be added to the draft of SANA resolutions. The resolution should contain a direct appeal to the people of Punjab for their help on bringing about pressure on their government.
June 19, 2010