Thar people to get cards for receiving financial help

Hyderabad—Pakistan Peoples Party’s senator Taj Hyder has said that Sindh government to issue Thar card for extending financial assistance to people of Tharparkar district as it was estimated that over 1.3 million people of the south-eastern desert district were living below poverty line without any sustainable source of livelihood.
He was addressing at Thar Conference, held here on Thursday to deliberate upon issues, challenges and conceive a way forward for future interventions under the auspices of Sami Foundation, National Humanitarian Network (NHN) and Marooara Coordination Council Network.
Taj Hyder said that Sindh government has taken multi-pronged measures to address the issues and challenges being encountered by Thari people in Health, Education, Water Supply, live stock and other sectors but still it required more to do to fill all the gapes existing in Humanitarian action in Thar.
He told that as an immediate response people of Tharparkar were provided free wheat and its ninth round was continue while 11,86,000 sacks of 100 kilogram wheat has been distributed among the local population so far. He said that people do not need wheat only but they were in need of financial assistance to meet their other requirements as well and they had to sell the wheat to meet them.
Realizing the facts, the provincial government has decided to issue Thar Card to the residents of Tharparkar, he informed adding that a survey would be conducted in this regard to ascertain the number of deserving people in need of immediate financial assistance.
He further told that misconceptions regarding quality of Thar coal were dispelled and now different companies were coming with projects of mining and power generation. Thar coal was an important project which would produce 3.8 million tons coal per year in its first phase and the capacity would enhance after ward, he said and informed that provincial government was working on a project of railway track.
In first phase railway track would be laid down from Islamkot to Badin and in second phase it would be extended to Keti Bandar, he said. They railway track would be utilized for transportation of mined coal to other areas of the country and even abroad for use in power generation, he informed.
He termed the displacement of local population due to coal projects an important issue of concern and emphasized the need of consultation with local population to finalize the rehabilitation plan. He told model villages were being set to provide shelter to displaced people and every effort was being made to ensure provision of basic amenities there according to the will of the people.
Elaborating upon issue of solar powered reverse osmosis plants he informed that there were 150 billion acre feet under ground water deposits estimated in Thar and government has decided to utilize the waste deposits for benefit of the Thari people.
There were 1000 RO plants to be installed with an estimated cost of Rs 7 billion in different water deficient areas of Tharparakar. Different problems including availability of skilled operators, support infrastructure, proper installation and operation of plants were detected during operation of RO plants installed earlier and those would be addressed before installing more RO plants, he said and informed that in coming six months 250 more RO plants would be made operational.
He said there was limited capacity to store desalinated water so additional water was being used to irrigate lands as additional water could be used to irrigate 20 acres of land around the plant, some water was being provided to “Gao Char areas”-areas reserved for animal grassing.
Taj Hyder further said that government had earlier decided to construct a canal for disposal of 34 cusec saline water to be extracted due to mining but a Dubai based Bio-Saline agriculture firm has suggested that saline water could also be used for different purposes including agriculture and fish farm-ing in Thar. He said the water could irrigate 3000 acres of land.
Health was another serious issue of concern in Tharparkar as despite provision of resources and measures there were deficiencies in health sector, he said adding that people have limited resources for health while doctors were reluctant to stay in Tharparkar. Government was framing a strategy to address the issues while a Sindh medical care program of Rs 5 billion was also approved in the regard, he told.—APP

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