Federal govt asked to pay supplementary funds in case of natural disaster
Demand to form ‘National Water Council’ made
Recommendations to be made at next CCI meeting
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday warned that under the National Water Policy (NWP), no new water storage facility or dam on River Indus is acceptable until and unless a consensus is developed among all the stakeholders, particularly the lower riparian.
This he said while presiding over a preparatory meeting for Council of Common Interests (CCI) scheduled meeting to be held in Islamabad in which NWP would be discussed. Irrigation Secretary Jam Shah, while briefing the chief minister, said that the amendments proposed by the Sindh government has been incorporated in the proposed NWP, which include securing katcha areas and its economy, preservation of delta area by proving sufficient supplies regularly and rainwater disposal arrangement in plains where it cannot be disposed of or diverted in the river.
He reminded that the proposal was given by Sindh chief minister to implement water apportionment accord 1991 and prevent its provision in paragraph 2 from being amended at any level and distribution be done as adjusted according to the proportion of each province.
The chief minister said that he would take up the issue again in the CCI meeting. Irrigation secretary said that the amendment proposed by the chief minister that provinces are responsible for routine repair and maintenance of flood protection dikes, flood fighting and drainage, however, in case of a major catastrophe like 2010 flood, the federal government will provide supplementary funds has not been incorporated in the revised draft policy.
On this, the chief minister said that the proposed amendment is necessary and he would again take it up. The chief minister was also told that his proposed amendment to “build large dams for system augmentation with a consensus of all federating units” has also not been incorporated.
The CM, while dictating a note to the Irrigation secretary, said, “The preface of the NWP should be that it recognises the internationally accepted right of lower riparian on water. Any diversions or interventions in the smooth flow of water would not be allowed until and unless the consensus of all federating units, particularly the lower riparian is achieved.”
The CM complained that Sindh and Balochistan have already faced serious water issues. The construction of new storage facilities and dams would further cause devastation. “We would not accept the new water policy until and unless our proposed amendments are incorporated in the new policy,” he said.
Sindh government has also proposed to form a National Water Council (NWC) which shall comprise the prime minister as chairman, federal water & power minister, federal minister for climate change, federal minister of national food security &research, Planning & Commission deputy commissioner, chief ministers of provinces, provincial irrigation ministers, private sectors members from water-related disciplines as members as advisors and Federal Flood Commission chairman as secretary of the council.
Prime Minister of AJK and chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan along with their Irrigation and Agriculture ministers of all provinces are also invited to the NWC meeting as observers.