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Irsa fails to decide on water share of provinces

irsa PakistanISLAMABAD: Amid a boycott by two of its members, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) failed on Thursday to decide on the distribution of water among provinces for the Rabi season, beginning on Oct 1.
Irsa spokesman Khalid Rana told journalists that the meeting “remained inconclusive” and would be convened again after consultations among stakeholders for a decision on water distribution.

Presided over by Irsa chairman Abdul Raqeeb Khan, the meeting was attended by members from the federation, Sindh and Punjab and the irrigation secretary of Balochistan.

With a disagreement on water shares of the provinces, Irsa’s members from the federation and Sindh demanded that the decision should be taken by majority. Member from Punjab Shafqat Masud wanted the decision put off to enable him to get instructions from his provincial leadership. Mr Masud’s contract expires on Oct 2.

The members from the federation and Sindh alleged that the Punjab member and the Irsa chairman were deliberately delaying the decision on the pretext of consultation.

They claimed that they had the support of Balochistan and hence a decision be taken on the basis of majority. When the Irsa chairman disallowed voting the two members boycotted the meeting.

Sindh had demanded that the water distribution should be made under para-2 of the 1991 water apportionment accord that had fixed provincial water shares.

They alleged that a three-tier formula under para-14 of the accord had caused a loss of over 25 million acre feet of water since 2003 and this could not be allowed anymore. As a result, the meeting failed to determine the water shares of Sindh and Punjab for the upcoming Rabi season.

After the meeting, member from the federation Bashir Ahmad Dahar said he would not attend the office on the last day of his service in protest against the chairman’s decision.

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