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Govt Delay In Draining Flood water May Cause Drop in Wheat Production

HYDERABAD : The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, a group lobbying for farmers’ rights, has expressed fear that Sindh’s wheat production was likely to drop to 1.5 million tonnes from average annual output of 4.5 million tonnes because of the government’s delay in draining rain and flood water.

Speaking at a meeting of the chamber, chaired by its President Syed Meeran Muhammad Shah, in Hyderabad on Sunday the SCA’s General Secretary Zahid Hussain Bhurgari raked the irrigation officers over the coals for the prevalent situation.

He pointed out that the wheat production sowing season will start from October 15, which is only three weeks away, but the irrigation officials have been saying that it will take them two to three months to drain the water.

‘The shortage of three million tonnes wheat will create food security issues in Sindh and the flour price will spiral up to Rs200 per kilogramme,” he cautioned.

He referred to the saline drains like Left Bank Outfall Drain and Main Nara Valley Drain which are incapable of draining the water because of the alleged inefficiency and corruption of the irrigation officials.

He alleged that tens of billions of rupees spent on the MNV and LBOD have been embezzled as no work on the ground is evident. “From Kashmore to Thatta ­ whole Sindh has been flooded.”

Bhurgari noted that because the LBOD has been overflowing beyond its capacity the rainwater from five districts of Sindh including Nawabshah, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas has kept those districts flooded. He added that the people were unable to return to their homes and the fields were still deluged.

The Sindh government has given the hope to the farmers that it will clear 75% of wheat cultivable land before the end of October. But the farmers contend that no such measures which reflect efforts on war footing basis are visible.

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