The Sindh Assembly session: PPP accuses Punjab of violating water deal

WEB DESK : The ruling PPP on Wednesday alleged Punjab for violating the 1991 accord, saying that the upper riparian province was continuously containing Sindh’s water share.

“Sindh is continuously faced with an unjust water supply,” Sindh Environment Minister, Dr. Sikandar Mandhro told the Sindh Assembly during a question and answers session in a response to a lawmaker, saying that the 1991 Water Accord had not fully been enforced.

He told that the International Panel of Experts had also recommended an increased quote of water share for Sindh in a bid to protect mangroves and ecology. The recommendations have also been unheeded, he said, adding that there had been no efforts to meet with Sindh’s reservations on a less water share.

“Despite no references in the 1991 water accord, the greater Thal canal was forcefully made,” he said and blamed Punjab for a poor water distribution. He said that there was no shortage of water in the country but the upper riparian province had curtailed the supply to Sindh. “When we complain of water shortage then deliberately Kala Bagh Dam controversy is created”, Mandhro said.

With a lesser water supply, he said that Sindh continued to suffer a fall of 23 percent agriculture output whereas Punjab had grown 25 percent greater yield. “It is sad that sea erosion swallowed some 2.2 million acres of land in Sindh”, he told the legislators and feared that the province would lose all of its agriculture land from sea erosion in the next 40 years. “Sindh is losing 23 percent agriculture land every year”, the minister added.

MQM’s veteran, Syed Sardar Ahmed also supported the minister’s views on a fast declining agriculture land in the province, saying that the 1991 Water Accord had partially been made public as half part of the agreement was secret. He said that the agreement document had not carried signatures from all stakeholders on all of its pages. He said that even the Sindh Irrigation Department did not have a complete document of the agreement with it.

Opposition leader, Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan of MQM questioned the provincial government for its move to buy 104-meter long snorkels at a cost of Rs570 million, saying that the proposed fire-extinguishers were more enough than what the city needed. He asked whether how many 20 storied or higher buildings the metropolis has. He believed that there were Rs300 million of misappropriation in the purchase of snorkels.

He advised the provincial government to repair the two out-of-order snorkels of 45 meters that the KMC had. “Don’t we have Rs350 million to repair these snorkels?”, he asked the treasury, saying the new snorkels would not have much of its use, except roaming on I.I. Chundrigar Road.

In reply, Sindh Local Bodies Minister, Jam Khan Shoro said that the purchase of snorkels was imperative since the city was fast developing its structures vertically. The new snorkels will also help extinguish fire from lower storied buildings, he said, adding that the government was making an advance preparation to boost up its machinery for future needs. He asked the opposition not to raise objection to the machinery buying.

The house approved a move to adopt The Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Sindh Right to Information Bill 2016 and Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2015 were referred to the concerned committees for further deliberations. The assembly will sit again on Thursday morning at 10 am.

Source : Business Recorder