Canal controversy

Published: Tuesday 15 June 2004

-- Pakistan's Sindh Water Committee (SWC) has reiterated its demands that work on the greater Thal canal be stopped forthwith, and plans to construct dams on Indus river as well as its tributaries be shelved.

Speaking at a news conference, SWC president Rasool Bux Palijo further demanded that Sindh province should be paid US $3 million as compensation for losses to its agriculture economy between 1999-2002. Palijo alleged that the Jalendar Agreement (between Pakistani and Indian Punjab) only facilitated gross misappropriation of waters of the Indus River System.

Apparently, in March 2002, the water committee had raised its voice against the construction of what Palijo dubbed as the illegal and unconstitutional Thal canal. The panel had made it clear that water was not available to meet even the minimum needs of Sindh, but to no avail. The Sindh irrigation department has also noted that there would be a major shortfall in water supply if the canal and other dams were constructed. Palijo cautioned that the construction of the structure could lead to differences between Sindh and Punjab.

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