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The real threat to Thar

46 10 214

SEVERAL thousand residents of three villages in Thar are appealing to the conscience of the people of Pakistan, especially of the custodians of power, to save them from ruin, as their lands have been submerged in the waters of the Gorano Dam.

The dam is an artificial lake created in a depression where water discharged after mining for coal is collected through a 35-kilometre-long pipeline. About 1,500 acres of land are already under water and eventually the lake may cover 5,000 acres, belonging to Gorano and two other villages. Many landowners have accepted the compensation offered by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) while some have not.

The Sindh government is reported to have announced a compensation package of Rs950 million for about 750 households. Each household will receive a term deposit certificate worth Rs1.2m that should yield a monthly income of Rs10,000.

The SECMC also claims to have provided jobs for young men and has opened a school in Gorano. The Sindh government is handing over 37 schools to the company, which has also contributed to the renovation of the Islamkot press club. A family park including a recreation area for children has been built on the highest mound overlooking the lake to attract tourists. At the moment it appears to be a cruel joke, as all that the villagers can see is the land under water that was the source of their livelihood for centuries and which has been taken away from them through........

© Dawn