KARACHI - PPP leader and Tharparkar Relief Committee Coordinator Senator Taj Haider said that media reports about death toll in district Tharparkar owing to famine were baseless.

The PPP-led Sindh government was carrying out relief and development programme in the district under a composite plan and strategy. Fifty thousand wheat bags had so far been distributed among the inhabitants of Tharparkar during past 8 months and each of the Basic health units was working properly in all union councils of the district. He stated this while giving a press briefing to the newsmen at the PPP Media Cell Sunday. He was flanked by Habib Ud Din Junaidi and Zulfiquar Qaimkhani.

The child mortality rate in the country was 65 deaths from 1000 children while in district, the rate was just 45 to 50 deaths. Three hundred and twenty-five reverse osmosis water filtration plants (ROWFP) would be functional in the district by Dec 27 this current year while further 400 ROWFPs would be installed by May 2015 with which the issue of access to potable water would be resolved, said Haider.

In addition, in order to promote agricultural activities in Tharparkar, Angro would install 34 pumps to draw soil water and with regard to development in agri sector of the district, Umerkot and Achrothar areas had also been included in the loop, he said adding that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had been directly monitoring the progress of ongoing development projects in Tharparkar.

The PPP Senator having been irked of media reports about deaths in Tharparkar from hunger, said the national media was portraying a baseless picture of Tharparkar with respect to death toll owing to famine and hence it would be good for the media to take the view point of TRC coordinator that was him.

The TRC Coordinator presented details and statistics about ongoing relief activities and development projects in the district and said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had constantly been monitoring the pace and results of the relief and development programmes there in Tharparkar, while, he (Senator Taj Haider) was also keeping the PPP Chairman updated about those relief and development activities, as well.

He informed that under the public private partnership programme, BHUS were fully functional in all 50 UCs of the district Tharparkar while Taluka and District Hospitals were being upgraded and further 20 doctors were posted in Tharparkar due to which death toll especially of infants and children in Tharparkar had saliently declined.

He again recalled the rate of death per 1000 children in Tharparkar was comparatively less than the rate of death at the national level as death in Tharparkar were just 45 to 50 while the rate at national level was 65 per 1000 children. Though the situation could not be taken as satisfactory but there was improvement in overall scenario in the district Tharparkar. He said water scarcity was the biggest issue of Tharparkar and hence different projects were being initiated to use soil water to address the problem. The underground water reservoir had 1.5 billion acre feet water which was a big source for meeting water needs of the local inhabitants, for drinking and personal use and for agriculture. The PPP had installed 70 ROWFPs in recent past, which were being shifted to solar energy and 5 such ROWFPs had already been converted on solar energy.

Around 100-acre could be made fertile for agri-produce with the use of soil water through pumps being installed in Tharparkar.

In order to provide vocational training to the youth and people of Tharparkar, the Mono-technical College in Mithi was being upgraded for which Sindh government had already released Rs100 million. Additionally, different programmes were being initiated in Tharparkar to promote the tourism and handicrafts of the area, informed Haider.

He claimed the basis of all the ongoing relief activities and development projects for Tharparkar were free from corruption, fully on merit and completely transparent and non-politicised.