Sindhu Bachao Tarla protest against WB | Pakistan Today

Sindhu Bachao Tarla protest against WB

While observing a hunger strike, scores of Sindhu Bachao Tarla (Save Sindh Appeal) activists submitted a memorandum to the World Bank representatives here on Friday.
They were protesting outside the World Bank office here against Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation Project, which they said had been a cause of “unending” sufferings for them.
They also refused the World Bank representatives’ invitation for talks to resolve the long-standing issue and said there won’t be any dialogue until their demands were included in the agenda of any such meeting.
They also warned that they would launch “Occupy World Bank” campaign in near future if their demands are not positively responded.
These protesting activists are those who had been affected by the World Bank-funded project. They chanted slogans in favour of their demands and against the projects funded by the World Bank. They said that it was the failure of newly rehabilitated Taunsa Barrage, which was funded with a foreign debt worth Rs 10 billion that led to the devastation of Muzaffargarh District in Punjab during last year’s floods.
They were of the view that the barrage had failed to guard against inundation of vast areas nearby because of its flawed design, lack of attention given to strengthening the protective embankments, “dysfunctional” computerised control system of floodgates and bad hill-torrents managements.
Farooq Mehram, a folk singer, who was also present at the demonstration, said the purpose of their hunger strike was to highlight their suffering and plight caused by the World Bank-funded Taunsa Barrage project.
“It is an attempt to wake the World Bank administration from their deep slumber and tell them the projects they had been funding had bad impact on the area and community and their sufferings multiplied during last year’s floods,” he observed.
Fazal-e-Rab Lund, a leader of the SBT, said their hunger strike was meant to highlight their following “key” demands:
First, both the World Bank and provincial government should initiate the process of accountability in the light of the report of the Punjab Judicial Flood Inquiry Tribunal. The report clearly relates the structural failure and subsequent devastating floods in Muzaffargarh District with some ill-designed aspects of the World Bank funded Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation Project.
Secondly, the World Bank should cancel the loan of Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation Project with the commitment of provincial government allocating it for the rehabilitation of severely affected local communities.
Third, the World Bank should stop financing the newly-started rehabilitation project at Jinnah Barrage. Not only the project deliberately ignores cost effective alternative options but it is also bound to cause huge financial losses to local communities due to the prolonged and irregular irrigation supplies during the construction phase. Fourth, the World Bank should ensure the fulfilment of its all commitments with respects to compensation of losses made in the resettlement plan of Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation Project.

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