RO plants disappointment, Thar needs canals, pipelines, Sindh assembly told

KARACHI: The government has spent billions of rupees on the RO plants for Thar and majority of them even do not work. The RO plants experiment is a disappointment and huge loss for public exchequer of Sindh province. The government instead of wasting money on costly RO plants should dig up new canals in Thar and also provide water to its poor people through pipelines, said opposition members speaking on a motion to discuss the Thar issue in Sindh Assembly here on Friday.

The House met about 53 minutes late than its scheduled time of 10:00am. After laying the quarterly report (October-December 2015 on ‘receipts of the province, current revenue expenditures and current capital expenditure and development expenditure, the House started discussion of a motion on Thar situation. Twenty members belonging to both treasury and opposition benches spoke on it. The speaker told the House that the discussion on this motion would also be continued on Monday and the CM Sindh would also speak on it.

However, the government side tried their best to downplay the deaths of children in Thar, saying situation in other parts of the province and country was almost same. They said the government has initiated a lot of new schemes, provided people jobs and laid a network of roads. They said the healthcare facilities in Thar hospitals were satisfactory and doctors were working there. They charged that the media was exaggerating the situation, but the ground realities were better.

However, the opposition members rejected these tall claims of the government and said the treasury is trying to befool the House and the people of Sindh province that all is well in Thar and proverbial rivers of milk and honey were flowing there. They said corruption and mismanagement was at their zenith and the poor governance of Sindh rulers is responsible for these issues. Criticizing what a member dubbed as “RO plants drama” they said billions of rupees from the taxpayers money were cruelly wasted on these plants, many of them are even not working. They said instead the government should try to revive the dead river of Hakira, or dig up new canals and lay a network of pipelines to provide water to the Thar including the Achiro Thar. They said the Achiro Thar spreading between Sanghar and Khairpur districts was badly neglected and people living there were still in a stone age. A member demanded that the health minister of Sindh was an aged person and he should resign from this portfolio and this important department should be given to some young and energetic MPA of the ruling PPPP.

A member strongly criticized Sindh CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah for his alleged rude gesture regarding childbirth in Thar through midwives. He said it was disgrace of all daughters of Thar and the CM should tender apology on the floor of this House.

They said the main issue of Thar was water scarcity and if the government is serious and sincere to provide Thar with irrigation water, as the world’s best irrigation canal system is already in Sindh, Thar could be made a rich an prosperous region.

A member belonging to the MQM suggested tapping the huge tourism potential of Thar, suggesting developing some “Peacock Parks” there so that local and international visitors come to see this beautiful area. They said the government is India has already developed the part of Thar in India and it is earning billions of dollars of tourist money. They said our rulers have to think on modern lines, end corruption and improve their pathetic style of governance.

However, it was decided that the debate on this issue would also continue on Monday and chief minister of Sindh would also deliver his address.

The Chair adjourned the House to Monday, Feb 1, 2016 at 10:00am.

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