Ombudsman resolves long-standing closure issue of Saifullah Magsi canal

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A aerial view shows farm houses in floodwaters in a village in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 19, 2010. More than four million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, the United Nations said on Thursday, making the critical task of securing greater amounts of aid more urgent. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause (PAKISTAN - Tags: DISASTER)

54,000 acres saved from complete devastation

Staff Reporter

Islamabad—More than 54,000 acres of agricultural land in Balochistan has been saved from complete devastation through intervention of the Wafaqi Mohtasib in response to a complaint.
The complaint was lodged by the residents of Kamber Shahdadkot, Gandakha Tehsil Usta Muhammad Balochistan for non-opening of the Siphons by WAPDA at Shahdadkot for drainage of extra and salty water of the districts of Jacobabad, Kashmore, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad and Kamber Shahdadkot.
Earlier, the necessary drainage project had been agreed by all the four provinces but the Government of Sindh was reluctant to open the Siphon which was causing the overflow of the thrown wastage turning into artificial flood affecting thousands of acres of agricultural land and a large population.
The Prime Minister’s office also took notice of this situation and on the directive of the Prime Minister the matter was discussed between the two Provinces and the Ministry of Water and Power and directive was issued for release the required funds for the drainage project.
The Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Mohammad Younus Dagha, informed the Wafaqi Mohtasib that work upto 82.80% against the approved PC-1 cost of Rs.4.485 billion for the underpass on RBOD-III project has been completed but the project could not be operationlized due to re-alignment issues on RBOD-III drain between the Government’s of Sindh and Balochistan on the assumption that the extension of the drain alignment could pose threat to Shahdadkot. Owing to this apprehension scenario the under pass on Saifullah Magsi was not opened for disposal of effluent, despite projection of the issue through print and electronic media.
M. Salman Faruqui, Federal Ombudsman took prompt action on this project of national importance and the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat by deciding the complaint succeeded in resolving the inter-provincial issue which has been lingering on for more than 3 years and as per the complainants the non-resolution of issue had affected the population of over 25,000 people, 2,000 villages, 5,000 animals, 45,000 acres of agricultural land under artificial flood water, while land of Tehsil Gandakha measuring 9,000 acres fully productive agricultural land destroyed resulting in approximate financial loss of Rs.1,500 million in 3 years and over 100 deaths. Approximately 35 to 40% of the population has migrated to other districts due to artificial floods and medical conditions.
Pir Bakhsh Jamali, Secretary, Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat in his capacity as implementation authority managed the coordination between Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, Islamabad, Ministry of Water and Power, WAPDA and Government of Balochistan for speedy implementation of decision.
On the progress report asked by Mr. Jaweed Akhter, Senior Advisor, Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat, Islamabad the Investigating Officer, the Ministry of Water and Power has confirmed implementation of aforesaid decision.
After completion of the requisite work, the Siphon has been opened and resultantly the drainage effluent of the area is being released; which eventually provided relief to the upper area of the Balochistan. After the implementation of said decision the temporary migrants have started returning to their native villages.

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