Sunday, August 7, 2022

Water share dispute: Sindh govt rejects CM Usman Buzdar’s offer to visit Punjab barrages

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KARACHI: The Sindh government has rejected the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s offer to organise a visit of lawmakers to the province’s barrages amid the issue of water shortage, ARY News reported on Monday.

CM Usman Buzdar had invited Sindh lawmaker to visit Punjab barrages in a step to resolve the issue raised by Sindh regarding the designated water allocation.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal said in a statement that the provincial lawmakers will not visit barrages in Punjab.

Read: IRSA detects water theft between Sukkur, Kotri barrages, wants Sindh govt to probe

He said that the provincial government has complained and protested against the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), hence there is no need to visit Punjab.

Siyal said that Punjab chief minister should give a reply over releasing water in Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal and Taunsa-Panjnad (TP) Link Canal.

The minister was of the view that the link canals were illegally opened in Punjab, causing a huge financial loss to Sindh up to $3 billion. He added that Sindh province must be given 33 million acre-feet (MAF) of water this season under the designated allocation.

Read: Water shortage looming as reservoirs drop near dead level

Sohail Anwar Siyal complained about getting a reduced share of water up to 30 MAF of water. On the other hand, the provincial irrigation minister offered experts from Punjab to visit Sindh for ascertaining the facts.

Earlier on May 28, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) had cut down the water share of Sindh and Punjab due to an “excessive” shortage of water in the country.

According to a statement released by IRSA, after the reduction in water share, Punjab is getting 83,000 cusecs of water, while Sindh is being provided 74,000 cusecs of water.

Read: Sindh minister dreads water shortage may mean huge losses for Kharif crop

Due to prevailing limited storage available in reservoirs and tumbling river inflows, it was inevitable to apply cut on provincial shares, the water body had said in a statement.

The Irsa spokesperson had expressed hope that the water situation in rivers would improve in the next 48/72 hours.

The ongoing tug of war between the IRSA members from Sindh and Punjab over water distribution has touched a new high over the opening of TP Link Canal from Indus at a time when the low riparian federating units are craving for water even for drinking purpose.

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