Judge to probe govt initiatives in drought-hit Thar

The report was furnished in a suo motu case initiated by the apex court regarding deaths of 400 newborns and infants in Thar due to diseases and malnutrition.
The report says that the Sindh government has declared Tharparkar district and the affected Dehs in seven other districts — Umerkot, Sanghar, Shahdadkot, Dadu, Jamshoro, Badin and Thatta — “calamity affected” areas under the Sindh National Calamities (Prevention and Relief) Act 1958.
But senior counsel Faisal Siddiqui, who represented civil society, said that a number of recommendations by different committees had never been implemented and that the real problem behind the issue was lack of implementation of the proposals about the tragedy in Tharparkar.
Sindh govt report submitted to SC highlights measures to mitigate suffering of affected people The lawyer said that the real reason behind neonatal or infant deaths was the absence of doctors, paramedics and other staff (at government-run health facilities in the desert area).
The Sindh government’s report says that it has also announced a relief package of free distribution of 50kg wheat among all households in the affected areas for three months.
The distribution process of free wheat started from September 24 and by the first week of November 172,505 households in Tharparkar have benefited from the relief package.
About the availability of water, the report says, 589 reverse osmosis (RO) plants have been installed in Tharparkar, of which 443 are functional.
As per the report, the Sindh forest department is in the process of setting up two fodder blocks of 40 acres for livestock in Warwai (Khario Ghulam Shah forest blocks) and Danodhandal (Loonia Samaa forest block) areas of lslamkot and Nagarparkar talukas, respectively.
The Sindh government is leading the investments in ensuring participatory development and the Thar Foundation is facilitating action on the ground, the report says also emphasising the need to develop linkages between public and civil society institutions in terms of information sharing, medical services, training, research, innovation and digital transformation.
These linkages can bring in tremendous value for the people given the type of challenges that the terrain and demography of a desert region entail and simultaneously the opportunities that can unfold with cohesive development.

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