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Cancel order to reopen CJLC: Qaim.

KARACHI, July 9 -- Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has demanded the federal government to annul the directives of the acting Indus River System Authority (IRSA) chairman regarding the reopening of Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal (CJLC), as the order was beyond his powers.

He expressed these views while presiding over a joint meeting of the provincial irrigation and agriculture departments held at the Chief Minister's House on Thursday.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah along with the officials concerned attended the meeting and briefed Shah about possible implications on the province's agriculture on reopening the CJLC. He was informed the province was already facing a water shortage, which has affected the sowing of cotton and rice in the current Kharif season.

According to an official handout, the chief minister would write a letter to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to apprise him about the whole situation.

According to Agriculture Department Secretary Agha Jan Akhtar, the sowing of cotton was reduced by 11 percent and that of rice by 23 percent, as compared to the last season.

The participants also reviewed the steps taken by the government regarding the development projects of irrigation and agriculture departments under the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The chief minister said the government was working on introducing the latest methods in the agriculture sector.

Talking about construction of small water reservoirs, Shah said they could be constructed near the canals to get them filled with rainwater, adding that small dams would be built on lands that were distributed among landless women growers.

He said the growers could adopt drip or sprinkle irrigation, and other latest methods of agriculture to get improve productivity of their agriculture lands.

Meanwhile, the provincial irrigation minister has said that WAPDA was equally responsible for the reopening of CJLC because it should not have implemented an illegal order from IRSA in this regard.

He said that he had approached Federal Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf after receiving the reports about the reopening of the canal but he refused to accept Sindh's demand to close the canal. The minister said the provincial government has written to the federal government for the immediate closure of CJLC and take action against acting IRSA chairman Shafqat Masood.

Responding to a question, he said Masood was responsible for the illegal reopening of the canal and not the Punjab.

He said the Sindh chief minister would contact the prime minister and the president on the issue, and demand the convening of an IRSA meeting also.

To another question, he supported the decision of the IRSA members from Sindh and the federation to tender their resignations.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Daily Times. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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Publication:Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 9, 2010
Words:475
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