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  • Oct 3rd, 2018
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Punjab Irrigation Drainage Authority's (PIDA) rules of business need to be reviewed and updated to improve the performance of ailing organisation, said Minster for Irrigation Sardar Mohsin Leghari. The Minister was chairing a meeting of provincial assembly members from all the five area water boards of the authority on Tuesday.

It may be mentioned here that Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) was established under 1997 PIDA Act with the objective of transferring irrigation system management to elected farmer bodies on the selected canal systems.

The PIDA was supposed to hold farmer bodies' elections every three years but due to legal loopholes in the system, elections in all 402 farmer organizations (FOs) could not be held on time. Currently, there are 35 FOs that are working on court stay orders in Bahawalnagar. The canal management in the rest of area water boards is in a complete limbo. At the same time, aabiana collection in PIDA over the years has also registered a decline and there have also been complaints about water availability at tail reaches of the system.

The minister who is also PIDA chairman said he has called this consultative meeting to chart out a way forward for the organization. There was a general consensus among the participants that PIDA rules and regulation need to be revisited particularly the ones that govern the election process of the farmer organizations, rules that deal with the water theft issues and non-payment of aabiana (water charge).

He said these rules would need to be revisited before the election of new farmer bodies and a new governing body for the organization would also be soon notified. It was also suggested in the meeting that aabiana defaulters should be barred from contesting FO elections.

The Minister also said that the government is working on provincial water policy and groundwater management to protect the precious aquifer of the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018

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