With Rabi season just around the corner, an estimate of 50 per cent water shortage is recorded, following which a parliamentary panel was informed about a move to bring the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) under the direct control of the prime minister to overcome bureaucratic red tape.
According to a local media report, during a Senate Standing Committee meeting, the Balochistan senators expressed dissatisfaction over the 1991 Water Accord and demanded a “fresh accord and monetary compensation for utilisation of its water shared by other provinces since 1991”.
“The committee expressed concern over the fund-raising drive for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams, saying the Kalabagh dam was unnecessarily being dragged into the debate even though it was a controversial project and divided the nation,” the local media report further stated.
In addition to that, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Vice Chairman Raqib Khan said, “The technical committee of Irsa would meet on Tuesday to finalise projections for water availability for the Rabi season, but preliminary estimates indicated the water shortage could be up to 50pc.”
Moreover, it was pointed out by Senator Muzaffar Shah from Sindh that “farmers faced more than 35pc shortage in the outgoing Kharif season and the upcoming Rabi season would witness an even worse situation”.
During the current Kharif season, Punjab faced 20pc shortage, Sindh 17pc, Balochistan 44pc and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 33pc. The total water shortage for Kharif crops was 21pc, the panel was told.
It was also reported that the WAPDA Chairman said that he had “proposed to the prime minister to bring WAPDA under his supervision and made answerable to the people of Pakistan through parliament”.