The worst drought in Cholistan has been feared as the rainwater reservoirs commonly known as tobas have dried out due to lack of rains and uncleanliness.
Under a Punjab chief minister’s package, 1,100 tobas were to be cleaned but despite the passage of eight months, they could not be cleaned while the few tobas that are not dried out have water supply for only one month.
In addition, the water project has also not been completed. If the steps on emergency basis are not taken by the government, the desert may face the worst drought. Due to the apathy of the Cholistan Development Authority, the Planning and Development Department and the district administration, Cholistan has been faced with the worst situation once again. Sodian Water Pipelines Project’s 90% working has been completed but the remaining work could not be completed due to unavailability of funds.
With the early completion of the project, the situation caused by the dried out tobas could be handled. The previous governments had spent millions of rupees on the four pipelines for the provision of water to the Cholistanis. But now, these pipelines have been made non-functional due unavailability of water for months. However, the expenditures for diesel are being charged for the running the pipelines by making false receipts.
Under the CM Package, these tobas should have been cleaned now and the payments of cleanliness of the tobas have not been made to the contractors and they had stopped working. Court has also been moved against the CDA for not paying the contractors.
If Cholistan could not receive rainfall in December and January, situation in Cholistan may get worse like Tharparkar. To avoid the Thar-like situation in Cholistan, the government needs to take emergency steps. it should set up mobile dispensaries and activate the Cholistan Livestock Department.