KARACHI - The initial findings of an inquiry of Sindh government has found the district administration of Thar and concerned provincial departments negligent in responding timely to provide relief aid to the drought affected people of Thar area, where malnutrition and diseases took the lives of over 100 children.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sindh Police for Hyderabad Region, Sanaullah Abbasi, ho was assigned a task by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to made inquiry into reasons of the deaths of the children, migration of the people as well as diseases in the cattle linked to the occurrence of drought in Thar area.

Sources told The Nation that DIG Hyderabad police, in his initial report, held the responsible/negligent to the district administration (Deputy Commissioner, Revenue, Food, Livestock, Health, Finance and other officers) of Thar district and departments of the provincial government including Relief, Food, Health, Finance and others for delaying response in indicating the calamity as well as giving timely help to the people.  

When contacted, Hyderabad police DIG Sanaullah Abbasi, via phone, told The Nation that he has submitted the initial report. He said he had conducted the interviews of provincial and district departments’ officers, lower cadre employees, local people, social scientists, researchers, who were working in the field, and then reached at a conclusion.

It is expected that Sindh government will submit the same report before the Supreme Court and Sindh High Courts’ benches, which are hearing the Thar drought issue in their suo moto petitions.

The social scientists and researchers are criticising the Sindh government for its role in poor response to the permanent problem of the Thar drought where people along with their cattle left their homes and settled in irrigated areas of the province in search of livelihood. But the government does not provide water to the Thar people with permanent solution to their doorsteps, who depend on the wells or to wait for rains.

Meanwhile, the situation has not changed as drought affected people are still waiting for food and medicines in open sky but the Sindh government is just making tall claims of initiating mega projects in the Thar area.

The director general of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has claimed that the relief activities in the drought hit district of Tharparkar were continued for the last more than 11 days. The relief activities have also been expanded to other districts including Umerkot, Sanghar and Khairpur where red alert of famine has been issued by the Sindh government.

On the directives of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Sindh government had installed 120 reverse osmosis water filtration plants in Tharparkar of which each plant was providing 200,000 gallons of potable water to the people of Tharparkar, he claimed. Sindh government was carrying out work on additional 190 water schemes for drinking and irrigation purposes. The work on 54-kilometre-long water pipeline from Lonikot to Nangarparkar was being laid with accelerated pace with preliminary cost of Rs540 million.

He said since he had also been elected from Tharparkar and during his time, major steps were taken for bringing improvements in lives of people of Tharparkar. Small dams were constructed, reverse osmosis water filtration plants were installed and 190 water schemes were under construction. Measures for irrigation and fodder for livestock were also taken. Reverse osmosis plants were also being installed at around 643 villages in Tharparkar while extra steps were being taken for electrification of far flung areas of Tharparkar through solar energy.

The minister said the Sindh government was working on a variety of projects. The relief and rehabilitation works were in full swing in drought-hit Tharparkar especially supply of pure potable water, milk and other nutritious food for children and mothers and other edible commodities especially wheat and rice. The Tharparkar Development Authority was also established with plans to initiate major projects for employment, trade facilities, water for drinking and irrigation and health sectors.