Dying fields: Water scarcity plagues agricultural heartland in Sindh’s Badin district

postImg

Rashid Lighari

loop

Read In Urdu

postImg

Dying fields: Water scarcity plagues agricultural heartland in Sindh’s Badin district

Rashid Lighari

loop

Read In Urdu

In the Sindh province, the last town of Badin district, Gulab Laghari, was once famous for its agricultural produce, where lush green fields stretched for four hundred acres, used for cultivating various crops. However, now those lands lie barren because the rivers of this region have dried up.

Mola Bakhsh Laghari, a resident of Gulab Laghari and a farmer by profession, is facing water scarcity. Due to the water shortage, his 40-acre land, irrigated by the Miran Khori canal, has been unable to support successful cultivation for the past decade. Last year, he tried planting tomatoes and mustard with floodwater, but the income generated from these crops barely covered the debt.

He says that two weeks ago, in protest of the unavailability of water, he and his companions staged a demonstration in front of the Hyderabad office of the Rohri Canal. As a result, they were held in Cantt police station for five hours, only to be released after the protests of their fellow demonstrators. He states that whenever they protest this situation, the police threaten to file false charges.

Abdul Ghaffar Laghari from Gulab Laghari is a reporter for the newspaper Ibrat. In his 25-year career, he has consistently reported on water-related issues. He says that the population of Mank Laghari, Gulam Shah, and Haji Allah Dino Sarival exceeds 50,000, where farmers are victims of a shortage of canal water.

Kashtkaar (farmer) Maqbool Ahmed from Gulab Laghari has been consistently protesting for a year now regarding the water issue. He tells Lok Sujag that he used to receive water from the Nasir Wah and Sarfaraz Canals of the Rohri Canal, and he is a cultivator at the tail ends of these canals.

He alleges that powerful landowners from Tando Allahyar and other cities have taken control of water from his share and have left the lands at the tail end barren.

“We have stopped cultivating wheat, cotton, rice, and sugarcane. Previously, water used to come mostly through natural flow. Sometimes, it was even stopped, but it was enough for our needs,” says Maqbool.

He also says that near Gulab Laghari, there are more than 100 small and large villages where agriculture and even drinking water are scarce. The underground water has turned brackish, and people must transport it over several kilometres.

There is no water in the Murad Wah canal, which has rendered approximately 40 thousand acres of land at the tail end barren.

“The water from the Zainur branch of the Rohri Canal is being stolen and used for banana cultivation, resulting in the neglect of five thousand acres of agricultural land in five villages. Banana cultivation is also taking place with water from the Sarfaraz Canal. From the Nehr Miran Khori, water has been diverted from 11 thousand acres to irrigate the banana crop on four thousand acres. The water from the Chakar branch of the Nasir Wah canal has also been cut off.”

Maqbool says that the main reason for water not reaching the tail ends is banana cultivation, which requires a significant amount of water. Therefore, influential farmers whose lands are located at the canals’ beginning steal water from their allocated shares. He says he cannot cultivate wheat due to the need to fulfil the dietary requirements.

He says that due to excessive water usage, restrictions were imposed on rice cultivation, but banana cultivation continues. It requires more water than rice. People can survive without bananas, but they cannot survive without wheat.

“In district Badin, wheat used to be cultivated on 80 per cent of the land but has now decreased to 20 per cent. This has forced people to buy expensive flour.”

Also Read

postImg

Manipulating the wheat market: 'Private traders are buying the crop for holding and smuggling'.

According to the provincial agriculture department, from 2021 to 2022, banana was cultivated on 31,963 hectares of land in Sindh. The district Thatta has the highest number of banana orchards on 8,271 hectares. In Khairpur, it’s cultivated on 5,550 hectares, in Noshero Feroze on 4,375 hectares, and in Tando Allahyar district on 1,106 hectares.

According to Maqbool, in Tando Allahyar, banana cultivation occurs in an area larger than the hectares the Sindh Agriculture Department reported.

In Badin, there has been a prolonged water shortage at the tail end of the Rohri Canal, including in Malkani Sharif. Local farmer Tariq Mahmood mentioned that influential landowners divert water for their own use, causing a complete lack of water in the neighbouring areas of Jarksan and Sangi Farho for the past ten years. Despite continuous protests by the farmers, the issue remains unresolved.

Published on 31 Aug 2023

How do you like this report?

Electric vehicles’ charging infrastructure in Pakistan

thumb
Article

Energy Overhaul: light for our (power) blackouts

Read more

arrow

Amna Javed
thumb
Article

Growth Potential and Constraints in Pakistan’s Electric Vehicle Market

Read more

arrow

Mohammad Bilal
thumb
Article

‘We turned Thal green and now the government is evicting us’

Read more

arrow

Nadeem ShahUser Face
thumb
Article

A High-Stakes Showdown Unfolds over Water Distribution" " The IRSA Ordinance: Sindh-Punjab Rifts Risk Escalating into Conflict"

Read more

arrow

Ashfaq LaghariUser Face
thumb
Article

Meet the 'new owner' of Indus river system! Comparative analysis of IRSA Act 1992 and IRSA Ordinance 2024

Read more

arrow

Abdullah Cheema, Kaleem Ullah
thumb
Article

"There were no masks, the workers put cloths over their mouths to protect their colleagues and went down into the toxic mine"

Read more

arrow

Asim Ahmed KhanUser Face
thumb
Article

Farmers worried despite the new record of wheat cultivation; Presents new challenge for Punjab government

Read more

arrow

Asif RiazUser Face
thumb
Article

Understanding the Surge in onion prices: 6 important facts

Read more

arrow

Asif RiazUser Face
thumb
Article

Rising Honour Killings in Kohistan: A Consequence of Judicial Inefficiency?

Read more

arrow

Umar BachaUser Face

From Fossil Fuels to Batteries: The Electric Vehicle Era

thumb
Article

Reserved seats at the center of ifs and buts of party equations

Read more

arrow

Tahir MehdiUser Face
Copyright © 2024. loksujag. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2024. loksujag. All rights reserved.