The rice canal is a perennial channel which emanate from Sukkur Barrage and irrigates about 500,000 acres land of Larkana and Dadu, the rice growing districts of Sindh. Moreover it is one of the most important sources of drinking water for these two districts. Unfortunately, on account of governments apathy towards the rice canal and other such waterways of Sindh, it has turned into a permanently contaminated stream. The old sewerage and storm water drain system of Larkana was built in the forties. When the population increased manifolds and it came under pressure, rather than creating a supplementary sewerage system, the engineers simply diverted sewerage into the Rice Canal. An added blight is that the municipal functionaries also did not do their job and allowed the livestock breeders and dairy farmers to establish their cattle pens within the city precincts. These cattle farm owners take their animals to canal regularly where they often flail about till late in the evening to beat the severe heat of summer days. The frequent discharge of drainage water into canal through numerous pipes has substantially increased the cases of Hepatitis B and C and other water borne diseases. Why are the district administration and local government authorities of Larkana silent on this public health issue arisen of despoliation of environment is a mystery. -MAJEED QURESHI, Hyderabad, April 5