By A.B. Arisar
1st May, 2011
UMERKOT, April 30: The hopes of residents of Thar are dashed as their dream of clean, filtered water at doorsteps is yet not materialised although a mega scheme was launched in 2006 at a cost of worth Rs403.100 million for the purpose.
The scheme could not serve the purpose for which it was launched because of the change of regime and afterwards escalation in its cost.
More than four years have passed and we still believe a filter plant would begin functioning in Umerkot under phase-V of the scheme, said an elderly resident Jamal Manganhar of Umerkot-Ratnor Road.
Previously, residents depended on underground water which became brackish forcing them to walk miles to fetch this precious commodity from wells and hand-pumps, he said.
People began suffering from gastroenteritis and diarrhoea because of the contaminated underground water. The Sindh government approved an urban water supply scheme phase-V along with a filter plant in 2006, giving a ray of hope to Thar residents he said and wondered as to what were the reasons behind abandoning the project halfway. Villages and colonies in the radius of 5km from Umerkot city were to be provided water from this scheme.
Sources in the Public Health Engineering Department Umerkot said the project was sanctioned in November 2006 and work began in January 2007 with the completion date fixed by June 2010. It was also learnt that the scheme was abandoned because it was sanctioned by the previous government.
When contacted Executive Engineer Public Health Engineering Department Umerkot Nafees Ahmed said the scheme has a capacity of 35.616 million gallons water with 3.392 million gallons filtered. The scheme would provide clean water to 1,50000 people against the plan of facilitating 92,800.
Work on main rising from Thar canal to Umerkot, two main ponds at is complete, booster pumping stations fixed and distribution lines laid and handed over to taluka municipal administration Umerkot which is maintaining and operating it.
Work only on filter plant remained to be completed due to rates escalation and for revision purpose he said and added that revised amount would stand around 655.200 million. The authorities, he hoped, would approve the revised rates and funds for provision of filtered water to its inhabitants.
20th February, 2011
UMERKOT, Feb 19: Millions of unspent local government budget and personnel interests have resulted in hiring of six union council secretaries in taluka Chhachhro from outside the Thraparkar district, mainly because of the proposed reshuffling of ministries.
People are dejected as bureaucracy did not take on board the local population and not a single elected representative defended the right of Tharis over appointments.
Reports reveal that the process of induction was still being carried out despite the protest of local people and PPP workers.
Reportedly, the six UC secretaries include Matloob Hussain Chandio of Dadu appointed at UC Rajoro; Daim Khan Zardari of Shaheed Benazirabad posted at UC Tar Dos; Huzoor Bux Shar of Sanghar at UC Mithrio; Narendar Kumar Bajir of Umerkot at UC Khensar; and Toufiq Hussain Chandio of Dadu at UC Jese jo Par, taluka Chhachhro. Matloob Hussain Chandio and Toufiq Hussain Chandio are real brothers.
Sources said that the six have joined their duties and had started working. The PPP workers and locals had termed it an injustice with Thari youth.
Strangely, none of the elected representatives form Tharparkar raised their voice over this injustice.
MNA Dr Ghulam Haider Samejo and member of District Development Committee condemning the move said that it was an injustice with Tharis who already were suffering from poverty and unemployment. He said that an elected representative of Tharparkar had auctioned these posts to outsiders and asked the government to provide justice to Thari youths.
Deputy opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Abdul Razzaq of PML-Q said that they would not tolerate a practice which had deprived Tharis of their legal and legitimate right. “I will raise this issue on the floor of the assembly,” he said.
Interestingly, last year the Chief Minister ordered the district governments of Umerkot and Tharparkar to ensure provision of water after learning of three deaths because of thirst. Subsequently, water was made available through tankers in some areas while administrators of rest of the areas submitted fake vouchers where there wasn`t any water shortage.
In Chhachhro taluka alone, more than Rs6 million were drawn in claims but accounts were sealed after unearthing of the practice. The Sindh government issued a grant of Rs200,000 per month to each union council.
The posts are non-technical and require an intermediate and thus any claims that such candidates were not available in Tharparkar was simply out of question, said Ali Akbar Rahimoon, a social activist.
Sources said that the local government authorities were in a hurry to draw unspent funds from the account of UCs since ministries were about to be reshuffled.
The UC secretaries and their nazims were co-signatories in handling the UC business but mukhtiarkars of taluka were made co-signatories in place of nazims after the dissolution of the local governments.
However, the district government of Tharparkar transferred these powers to the DO monitoring and evaluation compelling 44 UC secretaries to visit his office even for a single cheque and then draw the amount from taluka headquarters.DO monitoring and evaluation Tharparkar, Qazi Khalid Mehmood could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
By Our Correspondent
23rd September, 2011
UMERKOT, Sept 22: Five people died in Umerkot and four in different parts of Nawabshah district on Thursday because of gastroenteritis, malaria and waterborne disease.
Mir Muhammad Rind, 55, of Sufi Nawaz village died after consuming contaminated water from Nabisar canal. The water carries remains of carcasses of cattle, pesticides and fertilisers and other effluents.
The canal is a source of drinking water for Samaro, Kunri, Nabisar and other towns.
Amir Bux Bugti, 50, of Mansoor Khan Bugti village died of cerebral malaria, Ms Haryan of Faqir Qadir Bux Mangrio village died of gastroenteritis, Kishan, 7, and Ganesh, 3, died of malaria in a flood-affected camp in Qadir Bux Mangrio village.
In Nawabshah, at least four people died of various diseases which spread after heavy rains in different parts of the district.
Daud, 6, died of malaria in Labour colony relief camp, Sadori Panhwar, Mumtaz Kaloi, 3 and Ms Mangli, 19, died of gastroenteritis in the villages of Bahadur Jokhio, Qazi Ahmed and Khadi.