KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that he had been raising voice for releasing of at least 10MAF water downstream Kotri to stop increasing sea intrusion .

“Now the sub-committee of Senate on Planning and Development has proved in its findings that 2.2 million acres of land have been encroached by the sea .”

He was talking to Senator Dr Kharim Khwaja who called on him here at the CM House to present him a 50-page report comprising findings of senate sub-committee on sea intrusion .

Briefing the chief minister, Dr Karim Khwaja said he had headed the sub-committee of Senate on Planning and Development to investigate sea intrusion and water requirements downstream. “The committee has found that at least 10MAF water is badly required to stop sea intrusion otherwise sea would keep occupying land ,” he said, adding the 1991 water accord demands releasing of 10MAF water downstream Kotri.

Qaim said he was continuously pressing the federal government to implement water accord in true letter and spirit but nobody in the ‘Centre’ was listening to him. “It was a clear report of our Board of Revenue (BoR) that due to acute and constant water shortage, downstream Kotri sea was intruding and usurping sweet water lands and turning the remaining sweet water land of the entire Thatta-Sujawal belt into brackish,” he said, adding that is why the yield of the lands of Thatta-Sujawal is very low than the lands of other areas of the province and this has created poverty in the area.

Dr Karim told the chief minister that the Sindh government should urge the prime minister to call special CCI meeting and take up this issue. “This is a very serious issue which must be addressed in the larger interest of poor people of Thatta and Sujawal districts,” he said. “The senate sub-committee has also suggested construction of a coastal highway from the nearby area of Sir Creek of Thatta to Karachi to stop sea encroaching further. The proposed highway would serve as a retaining wall against sea intrusion .

The CM said he would hold a special meeting with his irrigation team. “Environment minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro has done a considerable study on this subject and he keeps pushing the provincial government on this issue off and on,” he said, adding he would ask him to formulate his suggestions in consultation with other water experts to find out its solution.

He said Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah had also taken up the issue of implementation of 1991 Water Accord in letter and spirit. “If the federal government decides to release 10MAF water downstream Kotri, the entire issue of sea intrusion would be solved. When water is released downstream Kotri, a natural activity of pushing the sea by Indus water back develops in the shape delta. Bogs holes develop there and it serves as a nursery of palla fish and fosters various other species,” he said.

The chief minister said ever since the natural phenomenon had been disturbed by controlling water discharge of water in the River Indus, various issues had been developed and going on disturbing marine life within the sea and human life on the land . He assured Senator Dr Karim Khwaja that he would mobilise Sindh government teams to stop sea intrusion and also press the federal government to play its due role by taking necessary measures as stated in the water accord.

EXCESSIVE LOADSHEDDING: CM URGES CENTRE TO HAVE MERCY ON SINDH

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has said that ever since the mercury has started rising up, the minister of water and power has started prolonged loadshedding of over 12 hours a day in the entire province particularly in the upper and central parts of the province.

A statement issued by the CM House said the chief minister while taking notice of prolonged loadshedding in rural areas of the province has said that the federal government must minimise loadshedding at least during the ongoing sweltering weather. “This scorching sun would snatch the life of poor people in the rural areas if you (water and power ministry) resort to continue the policy of prolonged loadshedding particularly during the peak hours from 1pm to 5pm,” he said.

He said that the people from rural areas mostly complain against the prolonged power outages. “The SESCO and HESCO under the pretext of non-payment of electricity bills mostly take away transformers from the villages and slum areas. This may also be stopped at least during the ongoing heatwave,” he added.

Qaim said he had solid reports that the Hesco and Sesco authorities do not replace the transformers off the areas deliberately where they are burnt. This is an inhuman attitude on the part of the people at the helm of affairs. He urged the federal government to have mercy on the poor people of Sindh at least during the ongoing hot weather.

CM SEEKS REPORT FROM LABOUR DEPT OVER DEATHS

Expressing profound grief on the death of five labourers in a factory of Korangi Industrial Area, the CM has directed the secretary labour to submit a detailed report within three days with recommendation of action against the factory management.

The chief minister raised few questions that how the labourers were working on holiday (Sunday), what kind of work they were engaged in, whether they were covered in social security or not and what safety measure the factory management had taken to protect life of the workers working there.

The chief minister directed the labour department to give him report of the questions he has raised, action taken by labour department and suggest action by the chief minister, if necessary. He vowed that he would not allow any body to usurp the right of poor workers and turning them into bonded labour.