CM says sea intrusion due to non-implementation of water accord
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that 2.2 million acres of land in Thatta has been encroached by the sea due to non-implementation of the 1991 Water Accord which calls for release of minimum required 10 MAF water downstream Kotri to help stop the increasing intrusion.
The chief minister expressed these views when a 50-page report/findings of the Senate sub-committee on sea intrusion was submitted to him by Senator Dr Karim Khwaja who called on him here at CM House.
Recalling that he had been continuously pressing the federal government to implement the water accord in letter and spirit, but nobody at the centre was listening to him.
The CM said: “It was the clear report of our Board of Revenue (BoR) that due to acute and constant water shortage downstream Kotri, the sea was intruding and usurping sweet water lands and turning the remaining sweet water along the entire Thatta-Sujawal belt into brackish.” That is why the yield of the lands of Thatta and Sujawal was very low than the lands of other areas of province and this had created poverty in the area, he said.
Mr Shah said he would hold a special meeting with his irrigation team. “Environment Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro has done a considerable study on this subject and he keeps pushing the provincial government on this issue off and on,” he said and added that he would ask him to formulate his suggestions in consultation with other water experts to find out its solution.
He said Irrigation Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had also taken up the issue of full implementation of 1991 Water Accord. “If the federal government decides to release 10 MAF water downstream Kotri, the entire issue of sea intrusion would be resolved. When water is released downstream Kotri, a natural activity of pushing the sea back by Indus water develops in the shape of delta. Bog holes develop there and it serves as a nursery for Palla fish and fosters various other species,” he said.
The chief minister said that ever since the natural phenomenon had been disturbed by controlling water discharge of water in the River Indus, various issues had developed disturbing marine life within the sea and human life on the land.He assured Senator Dr Karim Khwaja that he would mobilise the Sindh government teams to stop sea intrusion and also press the federal government to play its due role by taking necessary measures as stated in the water accord.
Earlier, Dr Karim told the chief minister that the Sindh government should urge the prime minister to call a special meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and take up this issue. “This is very serious and must be addressed in the larger interest of poor people of Thatta and Sujawal districts,” he said. He also said the Senate sub-committee had also suggested construction of a coastal-highway from the nearby area of Sir Creek of Thatta to Karachi to stop sea encroaching further. The proposed highway would serve as a retaining wall against sea intrusion.