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EDITORIAL: Wapda chief, Sindh Irrigation Secy directed to visit Manchar Lake.

By: AZAM KHAN ISLAMABAD, August 6 (THE NATION): Supreme Court, Friday, directed the Chairman Wapda and the Secretary Irrigation Department, Sindh, to visit the Manchar Lake in order to get first hand knowledge of its inhabitants miseries. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Justice Sair Ali and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing a suo moto case of water contamination of Manchar Lake caused because of the disposal of effluents from MNVD now converted into RBDO. Fateh Mohammad, Counsel for Secretary, Irrigation Department Sindh, informed the court that the secretary was busy in the province, as the flood had played havoc in whole Sindh, while the Wapda Chairman had gone for Umrah. The Chief Justice said, We could understand gravity of the situation but tell the Chief Secretary and the Wapda Chairman that when they were free from their engagements, they should visit the Manchar Lake in order to see the problems of the people living there. Justice Ramday stated if the Wapda officials lived there in the tents at the Mansher Lake, they would come to know the problems of the people living there. The court observed that around 50,000 people have been affected due to the pollution of Mancher Lake water. The economic activities particularly the fisheries have been destroyed and hundreds of fishermen had to migrate to other places and the people there suffering from deadly diseases like Hepatitis A. In order to alleviate the problems of the Right Bank of the Indus, a comprehensive master plan called Right Bank Master Plan (RBMP) was prepared in 1991 by an international consulting firm. The plan catered for the development of approximately 4.45 million acres land irrigated by the right bank canals of the Sukkur and Guddu Barrages. The total plan period spans over 26 years with three time slices of 8, 8 and 10 years. In November 1993, the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto directed Wapda to immediately activate RBOD-1 project as defined in the Right Bank Master Plan. The PC-1 of RBOD was prepared for the total investment costs of Rs25.473 billion. The RBOD brought highly contaminated and saline water from Balochistan in the main Lake. This mindless act of authorities not only destroyed the lake by toxic discharge, but also destroyed its ecosystem due to continuous disposal of saline drainage effluents. The Chief Justice said it was the violation of Article 9 of the Constitution as no workable or practicable steps had been pointed out to save the thousands of people life. The fishermen at the Manchar Lake have lost their livelihood therefore had to move to other place in search of earning. The case has been adjourned till August 24, 2010.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 6, 2010
Words:455
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