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Lack of rain brings clouds of drought to Cholistan

BAHAWALPUR (AwesomePakistan.Net): A large number of people in Cholistan desert are being forced to migrate to neighbouring villages with their cattle and other belongings because of an acute water shortage. Residents fear the lack of rainfall over the past several months could soon turn into a drought-like situation or worst in Cholistan, locally known as Rohi.

The Cholistan Development Authority (CDA) claimed that despite limited resources, efforts were under way to provide clean water to the people.

“The CDA is utilising all available resources to provide water in remote areas of Cholistan through bowsers,” CDA Director Administration Munawar Malik told The Express Tribune.

“All these steps are not sufficient that is why further emergency steps are needed to be taken by the government because pastures for animals have been exhausted due to lack of rainfall and around 95% ponds in the area have also dried up.”


According to Malik, four pipelines which include a 92-kilometre pipeline from Khaalri to Chak 108/DB, 87-kilometre pipeline from Chak 111/DNB to Nawan Kot, a 43-kilometre pipeline from Khatdi Dahar to Toofana and a 54-kilometre pipeline from Mir Garh to Chodhi were supplying water to more than 34,000 people and 60,000 cattle without interruption.

He said installation of two more pipelines at a cost of Rs652 and Rs713 million respectively have been started and with the completion of these projects, the water situation in Cholistan would improve.

He pointed out that water was being supplied through bowsers to the families living near Pakistan-Indian border.

“These families cannot access water pipelines so water is being supplied to them through bowsers and up until now no incident of human or cattle death is reported.”

People of Cholistan lament even though water was being provided by the CDA through water pipelines and water tankers, the fears of drought still looms over the desert.

They also demanded of the authorities to provide fodder to the people for their cattle on emergency basis.

Mazhar Ali, a resident of Cholistan, told The Express Tribune that people living in areas where water was not available, were migrating to areas where they could find some water. “These people are selling their animals on cheap rates so that they could survive in these areas. They need money to start a living there until the water situation improves,” he said.
Another resident Akbar said the Punjab Education Foundation operates 75 schools and 10 mobile education units. The teachers of these mobile schools follow and migrate with the population of the area.

Published in The Express Tribune