Thar deaths: No slackness on part of my govt: Qaim

Karachi: Denying inefficiency and bad governance on the part of provincial government of Sindh in death of children in drought-hit Thar, Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah told Sindh Assembly that no slackness on the part of his government was involved in the tragedy.

Addressing on the flood of assembly after two-hour debate on a motion related to the Thar situation, he said his government had already taken all steps to help the people of Thar as the government had received reports from district administration and other departments regarding no-rains situation in the desert area. He said wheat stock was provided but some delay occurred as transporters were demanding more transportation charges and negotiations with them took some time.

He said the children died mostly due to severe cold weather. He said another factor was that women of Thar preferred midwives for childbirth and they avoid visiting hospitals and interacting with male staff. He said in past Thar had also witnessed droughts but the then governments were not criticized for drought-related deaths.

Earlier, the treasury members also gave a clean chit to their government, terming the Thar tragedy ‘media hype’. They claimed not a single man, woman and child in Thar died due to hunger.

However, the opposition benchers criticized the provincial government of Sindh. They said the deaths occurred due to negligence of government and lethargy of its bureaucrats. They said had the local government system working the tragedy could be avoided, as local councillors are more motivated then the government functionaries.

They suggested digging a canal from Mirpurkhas to Islamkot to solve the water scarcity problem of the desert area for good. They noted that the Indian government had developed their part of Thar very well and all basic facilities of life were available there, but the situation is just opposite in the Pakistani part of Thar Desert. They advised the government not to see the Thar Issue a political matter but rather a human tragedy and work seriously so that this type of tragedies could not happen in future.

The Sindh Assembly met here Monday one hour and 10 minutes late than its scheduled time, with speaker Siraj Durrani in chair. After Question Hour, the chair started debate on Tharparkar Situation as per motion moved yesterday. Later, the house was adjourned to meet on Friday, at 10:00 AM.

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