Speakers during a seminar made various demands to address the Cholistanis’ grievances especially those of the provision of water and healthcare for the human being and the livestock on permanent basis.

At the seminar organised by a non-profit organisation, they said, “We welcome the Metro Bus project in Multan but the government should also spend money in Cholistan where the biggest problem is unavailability of water for human being and livestock. If the amount equal to the budget of metro bus project is spent in Cholistan, the situation in the desert would be different.”

They said that justice, not aid is prerequisite for poverty alleviation. They regretted, “Cholistan which spreads out on 6.6 million acres of land generates revenue of Rs2 billion annually and produces 400 liters of milk annually but the Cholistanis are still thirsty.” They said that there are 2 million animals including cows, goats and camels in Cholistan but the people have been facing severe difficulties due to lack of water and medical facilities. They added that cattle heads are dying of various diseases.

The people are forced to migrate from one place to another due to lack of water, they said and demanded that the departments concerned should early provide them with water across the region on permanent basis by announcing a schedule in this regard, timely cleaning canals and tobas, and taking strict action against water thieves.

They also demanded plantation of saplings, grazing lands for the livestock and provision of seeds. “The government should give the women training regarding kitchen gardening. Punjab Seed Corporation’s branches should be established at tehsil level. Labs to test soil and water should also be established along with farmers’ training for growing crops,” they demanded. They also said that the government should set up cotton purchase centres at union council level in the desert.

TRAINING WORKSHOPS: A delegation of non-governmental organisation (NGO) SEPLAA headed by its Chairperson Ammara Farooq Malik visited the Islamia University Bahawalpur and met Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Mukhtar to discuss the proposed training workshops at the IUB for the promotion of entrepreneurship.

It is to be noted that the SEPLAA will conduct three training workshops for the students of The Islamia University from June 16, to July 5, 2014 at the IUB Campus. The successful candidates on the completion of training workshops will be given practical projects which will be quite helpful to make them earning hand.

The IUB VC directed the authorities concerned of the university to extend cooperate for holding the training workshops and deputed Director Alumni Dr Abdul Wajid Khan as Coordinator for the programme.