Balochistan is facing canal water crisis on perennial basis with no relief insight as the Central Government remained insensitive to water shortage for its fields after the sowing season.
There is a threat that more than quarter of a million acres of land will remain barren after not receiving water for irrigating land. The land is located in the Pat Feeder Command area in Naseerabad Division, the canal irrigating region.
The region is considered the food growing area of Balochistan. The canal water shortage is expected to make the province food deficit in the coming months as vast track of land will remain un-irrigated and dry.
There was uproar in the Balochistan Assembly as most of the speakers during the sessions blamed the Sindh Government and its petty functionaries for the water crisis in Balochistan.
The water crisis in the Indus River System is not being share equitably between the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan in the downstream. Balochistan was made a deliberate victim for being the tail ender or the last recipient of canal water from the Indus River System. Thus Balochistan is discriminated willfully and the Central Government had no visible intention to intervene and provide any relief to Balochistan and its people.
It is believed that Balochistan will face serious food shortages in future making it a food deficit province once again depending on Sindh and the Punjab for food aid.
The speakers were unanimous in blaming the Sindh Government and its functionaries for the deliberate water crisis in Balochistan retaining the bulk share for Sindh and its elite feudal lords.
The Assembly passed a resolution asking the Balochistan Government to take appropriate measures to resolve the water crisis by involving the Central and Sindh Government ensuring regular water supply in its canals.
Naseerabad is the canal irrigated region and backbone of food production in Balochistan. Two main canals are irrigated land in Pat Feeder and Kirthar Canal command areas besides a few smaller canals receiving water from Sukkur Barrage. Complaints are lodged off and on over shortage of water in both the major canal system as control of those canals lie with the Sindh Irrigation Officials in the upper reaches of the Indus River System.
In past, Kirthar Canal was irrigated some land of Sindh in the Jhal Magsi areas. Later on, the share of canal water was bifurcated by the Sindh Government by building the Magsi Canal. The Sindh engineers had designed it in a way making the slope deeper so that the flow of water in the Kirthar Canal was seriously affected and the canal moved with a snail pace from confluence point of Garang downwards.
With the unfair distribution of canal water, a large track of land had become barren for lack of water at the tail end. Same was the situation in the Pat Feeder Command area where more than quarter of a million acres of highly fertile land will become barren for not receiving water during the current season.
The Central Government, with its unlimited powers, should intervene in the matter and use the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to ensure proper share of water to Balochistan in its canal system. At the moment, the Central Government and IRSA officials are showing no interests in defending the legitimate interests of Balochistan in the Indus River System and denying legitimate share of water to the Province.
This is besides the Kachhi Canal project which is delayed for over two long decades and will take another decade to complete to receive the proper share of canal water for Balochistan. Kachhi Canal is planned following the Water apportionment Accords among the Provinces in 1991 granting 10,000 additional cusecs of water to Balochistan. In absence of the Kachhi Canal, both Sindh and Punjab are using the Balochistan’s share of canal water for more than quarter of a century.