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Punjab farmers reject 1991 water accord without Kalabagh dam

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Agriculture - Global Trends

LAHORE : Various farmers associations of Punjab have rejected water apportionment under para two of the 1991 Water Accord among the provinces for sowing and maturing of Kharif crops including cotton, rice, sugarcane. Talking to Business Recorder here on Friday they said, we reject allocation of 32.6 MAF water to Punjab which contributes 75 percent to the countrys agriculture production and 29.9 MAF water to Sindh province that contributes only 20 percent to the agriculture sector.

Convenor Punjab Water Council Farooque Bajwa said that any clause of the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord could not be taken and implemented in isolation. He argued that Punjab government gave its consent to the Accord after the implicit agreement that the most feasible Kalabagh dam would be constructed to augment the water availability.It would be appropriate to link other issues such as development of future storages etc with the provisions of the accord under which Punjab share was reduced by 2.7 percent and Sindhs share increased by 1.2 percent, meaning thereby that Punjab sacrificed and Sindh gained. He emphasised that clause 6 of water accord regarding future storage states the need for future storage wherever feasible on the Indus and other rivers was admitted for planned future agricultural development.This clearly indicates that sharing of water is connected with the construction and operation of dams. Chairman Pakistan Agriforum Ibrahim Mjughal also rejected the distribution of water under para 2 of the accord and said Punjabs agriculture sector has been devastated due to this unfair distribution of water.

Sindhs cotton production has increased by 40 percent as compared to Punjabs meager 12 percent due to reduced water flows and long closures of irrigation canals last year. It is an ample proof of economic sufferings and deprivation of farmers of Southern Punjab, he said

He alleged that Sindh dominated IRSA is not providing the allocated share of water to Punjab since telemetry system purchased at a cost of Rs 450 million from a reputed firm is not being operated to measure the correct discharge of water to the provinces. President Kissan Board Pakistan, Multan Fayyazul Hassan Bhutta said that the government of Pakistan surrendered three rivers Sutlej, Ravi and Beas to India under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty that irrigated millions of acre of crop area of Multan and Bahawalpur divisions.

He said agriculture production of
Southern Punjab is decreasing due to shortage of water and mismanagement of the available water resources. President Pakistan Agriforum south Punjab Rao Afsar Ali Khan said that the Punjab government has compromised economic interests of farmers of Southern Punjab to remain in power.

South Punjab was assured that it would be provided 22,000 cusecs water through CJ link canal as an alternate source of water of Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers, however this canal has become controversial between Punjab and Sindh and we are deprived of our source of water from Indus River, he added.

 

 

 

 

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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