Murad orders enforcement of ban on rice cultivation in command areas of perennial canals

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KARACHI (pirbuxnoonari): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all the divisional commissioners to ensure implementation of complete ban on rice cultivation on perennial canals so that the area could be saved from water-logging, salinity and seepage.

This he said on Monday while presiding over a high-level meeting here at CM House. The meeting was specially attended by MNA Khursheed Shah and the other participants were Minister Agriculture Ismail Rahu, Minister Irrigation Nasir Shah, Sepcial Assitant to CM Ashfaq Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Irrigation Jamal Shah, Secretary Agriculture Special , Special Secretary Irrigation Aslam Ansari, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani and other divisional commissioners, their deputy commissioners and concerned irrigation engineers joined the meeting through video link.

The chief minister said that the cultivation of rice on perennial canals such as Ghotki Feeder, Rohri Canal and Nara Canal was causing water-logging, salinity, seepage and damage to land. He added that a notification for the purpose had already been issued.

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Mr Shah said that rice was a high delta crop with water requirement of 70-acres inches, therefore it required more irrigational water as compared to cotton and other kharif crops. He added that water requirement of cotton crop was 36-acre inches, therefore as compared to cotton crop the rice cultivation need about 94 percent more irrigation water for one acre.

It was pointed out in the meeting that NW and Dadu Canals were designed for dry crops but cultivation of rice had been allowed there for food security since world war-II. The chief minister directed Commissioner Hyderabad Abbas Baloch to talk to the growers of Dadu Canal and convince them to switch over to low delta crops. “This is the time we have to switch over to low delta and high yield crops due to water shortage and water logging issue,” he said.

It was pointed out in the meeting that cotton sowing in Sindh starts in May and rice cultivation starts in June, therefore the chief minister directed irrigation department to release water to the perineal canals in May so that they start sowing cotton. If water supplies are delayed then the growers would opt for rice.

The chief minister constituted a committee of Irrigation, Agriculture and Revenue department’s secretaries committee to work out a detailed plan for release of irrigational water and launching a drive to convince growers to switch over to low delta crops.
The chief minister directed the divisional commissioners to implement the ban on cultivation of rice in perennial canal’s command area through strict administration. The agriculture department was directed to guide and facilitate the growers for switching over to other crops.

It may be noted that rice is the second largest cereal crop of Sindh in terms of area and production. Sindh contributes 23.6 percent in area and 38 percent in production of rice at national level. (Please send your news, article, pictorial on our email address <editor@enewspaper.com.pk & WhatsApp +923132434567)