KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has decided to file a compensation case with the federal government for short supplies of water to Sindh since 1991 when the accord was signed.
Presiding over a review meeting to discuss the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting, CM Sindh said that the province has been receiving short supplies of water since a long time, but was given even less than it allocated since the accord was signed in 1991. Therefore, the Sindh government must file its claims as the people of Sindh particularly farmers and the government have suffered a huge loss.
He directed Irrigation department to work out the details of the water received from 1991 to 2017 and calculate the short supplies so that a vigorous case could be presented in the CCI meeting.
The chief minister was surprised at the claim by Balochistan government regarding monetary compensation of short water supplies to Pat Feeder and Khirthar Canals.
“Sindh has been facing short supplies since long and Balochistan is claiming monetary compensations,” he said.
The CCI meeting is due to be held in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Water policy is prerogative of provincial government
Secretary Irrigation Jamal Shah briefed the chief minister on National Water Policy, which the chief minister said was not part of the CCI and instead the prerogative of the provincial government.
“The federal government is bound to give water to the provinces according to their share in the accord.”
“As far as the water policy is concerned, it is the prerogative of provincial government to frame its own policy in the light of its priorities,” he said.
He also opposed that the construction of new reservoirs has been inserted into the water policy.
Talking about construction of two minors for cumulative discharge of 800 cusecs from Begari Canal for Balochistan, CM Sindh said that Begari was a non-perennial canal and was already facing water shortage.
“The construction of two minors would deprive the rightful share to the existing users, therefore Sindh would oppose the request of the Balochistan government,” he said.
Establishment of fiscal coordination committee
After briefing on the establishment of fiscal coordination committee, CM Sindh directed that provincial finance secretary and chairman Sindh Revenue Board should be taken on board to discuss fiscal policy with the federal government.
CM Sindh also said that the federal government was reluctant to hand over the assets and functions to the Employees Old Age Benefit (EOBI) and workers Welfare Board to provincial governments.
“The FBR was still recovering workers welfare fund which was illegal and against the spirit of 18th Constitutional Amendment,” he added.
He said that a letter will be written to the federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to stop Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) from recovering workers funds through a notification.
However, he said that Sindh Revenue Board has started collecting workers welfare fund and a considerable amount has been recovered.
Later, CM Sindh accompanied by Chief Secretary Sindh Rizwan Memon flew to Islamabad to attend the CCI meeting on Tuesday.