Water scarcity endangers rice cultivation in upper Sindh

The Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) on Sunday expressed profound concerns over failure of the Irrigation department in ensuring sufficient amount of water supply from the Indus River to thousands of acres of paddy fields in Larkana, Dadu, Khairpur, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Kashmore and Jacobabad districts.

Reportedly, SAB representative Gada Hussain Mahesar informed the media that 40 percent of the total area of paddy fields has been facing an acute water shortage, and sowing of the crop has been delayed.

“Farmers are not even certain whether or not they will be able to harvest the crop as it requires an abundant amount of water for cultivation,” he said, adding that 50 percent of the cultivation has been severely affected in Sindh.

He stated that agricultural economy would suffer a loss of millions of rupees. The paddy farmers have been protesting against the shortage of water supply, however, their hue and cry has been ineffective for the concerned authorities to take action. In the recent past, the protesting farmers had staged several sit-ins and observed hunger strikes but the authorities turned a blind eye to the critical issue.

According to the paddy farmers, the water shortage issue did not only hit the rice crop but developed water disputes amongst members of different communities of growers in Sindh.

He asserted that influential growers had paid bribe to divert water from the Indus River to their paddy fields via water channels and drains, whereas poor growers in tail-end fields suffered ‘devastating losses’.

The SAB leader accused Irrigation department engineers of not responding to their calls and being absent from their offices in this kharif season.

He was staggered to observe sowing of rice in the month of September rather than mid-August, and said that farmers were busy in sowing paddy crop without any knowledge that there would be no yield.

He revealed that due to water scarcity and adverse climate changes a vast swath of land in upper Sindh has become arid.

Mahesar said that over 2.7 million acres of fertile lands of paddy crop produced approximately 2.4 million tons of rice, which was highest production of any crop in the province.

Irrigation water is released in water channels, drains and canals during the month of May or June, but this year 45-day delay was recorded.

He appealed to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for taking notice of the situation and implement effective measures to prevent losses.

Labourer appeals to Bilawal for medical treatment of his ailing sons

Two youths have been suffering from an unknown illness which robbed them of the ability to walk and talk since their birth in Vikro village near Mohenjo Daro.

Reportedly, a labourer Manthar Ali told the media on Sunday that his two sons including 18-year-old Muhammad Sachal and 13-year-old Aqib Ali were suffering, whereas his third son 15-year-old Majid Ali died from the same disease.

He said that he had consulted several doctors who told him that their treatment was not available in Pakistan.

He stated that he needed to travel abroad for their medical treatment costing Rs 5 million.

He said that he could not afford their treatment and appealed to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah and philanthropists for supporting him.