HYDERABAD - Provincial  Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro on Monday said that Sindh was facing 42 percent water shortage this year which would affect agricultural production.

Jam Khan Shoro said in a statement that IRSA was depriving Sindh of its share of water by giving justification of water shortage in the system. He said that in the year 2021, Sindh province was provided 22 percent less water under the 1991 water accord. He further said that due to severe shortage of water, standing crops on thousands of acres of land were being damaged.

Jam Khan Shoro has also expressed concern over shortage of drinking water in Karachi and other cities of Sindh due to acute shortage of water. He demanded from IRSA and the federal government that Sindh should be given due share of water as per the 1991 water accord so that the water crisis could be overcome.

Meanwhile, acute shortage of water has delayed sowing of cotton in many areas at the heads of canals in the district while growers in the tail-end areas of water channels are not even able to sow the cash crop.

According to a survey conducted by this correspondent on Saturday, the tail-end areas of Digri, Mirpurkhas, Jhu¬ddo, Kot Ghulam Moham¬mad, Jhilori, Sindhri, Naokot, Phuladiyyoon and Khaan were the worst affected by the shortage.

The president of Tail-end Abadgar Association Nara Canal, Mohammad Ali Bhurgari, general secretary Khalid Arain and Maqsood Rajput said that they were experiencing acute shortage of irrigation water for over a month.

However, supply of water to the tail-end in the command area of Nara Canal was gradually improving in the wake of stern action against water thieves by the director of Nara Canal. As a result, water supply was gradually increasing in the tail-end areas of the canal over a month and growers had started sowing cotton and other crops, they said.

They deplored that growers had suffered great losses in this region due to sudden shortfall in water supplies.

Gohram Baloch, an official at the agriculture department, said that his department was making concerted efforts to ensure fertilisers were sold at official rate by taking stern action against violating dealers. Three shops had so far been sealed over violation of rules and selling fertilisers at higher price, he said.

He said that growers were busy sowing cotton crop at their farmland though precious time of cotton sowing had passed due to unavailability of water in canals. The federal government was likely to increase support price of cotton to Rs8,000 per 40 kilogram, which had increased growers’ interest and they were bringing more area under cotton even though adequate time of the sowing had passed, he said.

He claimed the cotton sowing target had been fixed at about 100,000 acres in the district and so far 50 to 60 per cent cotton had been sown in the district. Nara Canal Area Water Board director Engineer Mansoor Ahmed Memon said that he had ordered patrolling along of canals throughout the day and night to stop water theft and legal action had been taken against the culprits to check the menace.

He said that action against corrupt officials of irrigation department continued with several officials placed under suspension and transferred as punishment.