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Pakisan nationalists block highway to protest water shortage

Commuters inconvenienced for more than 18 hours

Gulf News

Karachi: Sindhi nationalists blocked the main highway connecting Karachi to the north of the country for more than 18 hours on Tuesday.

The protest, stretching several kilometres, was held to highlight the issue of water shortage in the southern province.

A large number of Jeeya Sindh Qaumi Mahaz workers staged a sit-in near the Hyderabad Bypass as commuters remained stranded in the scorching heat.

JSQM chairman Niaz Kalani said people were facing a tough time due to an immense shortage of irrigation water in the province.

Kalani vowed to resume the protest if the demands were not met.

“We are deprived of our due share of water and this exploitation goes on,” Kalani told Gulf News from Hyderabad.

“If the plight is not stopped we would continue our protests,” he said.

The protest began on Monday afternoon and lasted until noon on Tuesday after the civil administration convinced the protesters to stop.

The irrigation canals in the Sindh province were facing a severe water shortage, which was affecting the sowing of the seasonal crops.

Sindh Abadgar Board, a representative body of the farmers and land owners said the farmers desperately needed water to prepare nurseries of paddy crops in early May in northern Sindh.

The lack of water has had a huge affect on the peasants.

Sources said that according to rough assessments Sukkur and Kotri barrages were facing 30 per cent and 50 per cent shortages respectively.

“The tail end users, in our case Sindh, remains deprived of their due share of water by the upstream users and it is a recurrent annual phenomenon,” a Sindh Irrigation Department official said, seeking anonymity.

A high court has already ruled that the water should be discharged in the canals in Sindh before May 20 so that the farmers could get water.

Experts say that the shortage of water in the Indus River in Sindh affects 25 million people.