SHC orders smooth water supply to landowners

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Staff Reporter
Disposing of around 165 petitions from up to a decade ago, the Sindh High Court (SHC)
ordered on Thursday the provincial irrigation department to hear and address the farmers’ complaints
within 30 days of filing.The bench, comprising Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Adnan-ul-Karim
Memon directed the Sindh irrigation department “to ensure regular supply of water to the lands of
the petitioners and [all] landowners in the province. The petitions, from Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and
Nawabshah divisions, pertained to water theft by head-end farmers in connivance with irrigation
officials, bribery for release of water, unlawful closure of water supply and other similar issues.Many
of the petitioners prayed for action against the officials whose alleged corruption created irrigation

water shortage and caused huge financial losses to the farmers. The lawyers pleaded that the farmers
are denied their due share of water.However, the court did not give an adverse decision against the
officials. The pivotal issue is equitable distribution of irrigation water by the irrigation department,
observed the bench, reminding the officials that preventing the theft is also their responsibility.With
regard to the direct outlets from the canals which are given to the politically influential landowners,
the SHC recalled the 2014 order of the apex court to reiterate that such outlets are illegal.The court
also barred the SHC’s registrar from admitting petitions of farmers who have not exhausted the
option of filing complaints with the irrigation department.