Islamabad - Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (lPC) Dr. Fehmida Mirza has recommended Sindh government to immediately call in Rangers to control water theft in its canal system and overcome water shortage in the province.

Keeping in view last year Kharif Season practice, Sindh may immediately call Rangers to control water theft in its canal system, said Dr. Fehmida Mirza while presiding over a meeting here yesterday.

The IPC minister also asked NAB to take notice of corrupt practices in Sindh Irrigation Department and Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA)

Fehmida urged Federal Secretary Water Resources Muhammad Ashraf and IRSA Chairman Sherzaman Khan to review the water situation in the country.

The meeting reviewed water situation in the country, especially, in the wake of water shortage faced by Sindh province. Dr Mirza highlighted shortages of about 40 percent in Kotri canals.

Orders Irsa chairman to immediately increase Sindh’s water share

Secretary water resources briefed the minister over prevailing water crisis and provincial water releases. He said as per indent of Sindh, 180,000 cusecs of water was being released from Chashma Barrage to the province. At Guddu Barrage ,about 150,000 cusecs water was available, which, as per Sindh irrigation department, was sufficient to meet provincial demand, he added.

The secretary also highlighted abnormality in temperatures in the catchment areas of all major rivers and hoped that from Friday situation would become normal.

IRSA chairman briefed about Sindh indent and IRSA releases in the system and assured full cooperation for the sowing of Kharif crops in Sindh province. He added that conveyance losses of about 61,000 cusecs from Taunsa to Kotrl were disturbing IRSA regulations. He also elaborated IRSA mode of water distribution in collaboration with all provincial irrigation departments and IRSA’s advisory committee. He underlined that lopsided distribution was visible at Sindh barrages as Guddu was experiencing only 5 to 7 percent shortage while other Sindh barrages were facing about 20 to 25 percent water shortage. IRSA chairman told the minister that losses were different at various canal/barrages points inside Sindh which meant that there was irregularity within canal system of the province, official source told The Nation.

The province was required to take steps to reduce it, IRSA chairman was of the view. 

Dr Mirza took notice of the excessive losses in the system, lopsided water distribution at Sindh barrages as well as internal mismanagement in provincial irrigation System.

To counter water shortages in Sindh, Dr Mirza directed IRSA chairman to increase Sindh’s share from 180,000 cusecs to 190,000 cusecs immediately to provide relief to farmers in the province.

She further said that IRSA chairman would take concrete steps to ascertain factual conveyance losses in the system. She also emphasised on installation of telemetry system on Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) on war footing.

The minister further said that as per last year’s Kharif season practice, Sindh may immediately call Rangers to control water theft in its canal system.

Dr Mirza demanded that Sindh Irrigation Department might immediately stop lopsided water distribution at Sindh barrages and shortages in the system, if any, may equally be distributed between Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages.

She said that NAB should take notice of corrupt practices in Irrigation Department Sindh and Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA).

The source said following the directive of the IPC minister, IRSA had immediately increased Sindh’s share by 10,000 cusecs. Work on the telemetry system had already been initiated and it will take around two years to complete, the source said.

On conveyance losses the source said that IRSA chairman had convened a meeting today (Friday) to ascertain the factual losses, the source added.