August 27, 2013 YASIR BABBAR
Zamindari Bunds (private embankments established by local landlords illegally) became major cause of breaches in canals and feeders during this flood, continued at Guddu and Sukkur Barrages, Business Recorder has learnt. Despite knowing about these zamindari bunds, Sindh Irrigation department could not remove these illegally-made private bunds from Katcha areas of both right and left banks of Indus River.
These bunds, had been made illegally by highly influential landlords, as they had secured the crops cultivated on their lands of katcha areas from any kind of flood. According to legal experts, zamindari bunds are totally illegal, its violation of the Irrigation Act 1887. Prior authorities of Sindh government including Irrigation department tried to remove these bunds but they proved fail every time.
Sources inside Irrigation department told Business Recorder that during the previous PPPP-led government, it was decided that all private dykes would be removed when they witnessed irreparable losses and damages during the floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012 but the issue remained unresolved. During the super floods of 2010, the water entered the big cities, including Jacobabad, Khairpur, Nathan Shah and Garhi Khero just because of these bunds, sources said.
Sources disclosed that when flood water was overflowing nearby Dadu-Moro bridge, constructed on Indus River and Dadu city was on the target, Jatoi brothers of Naushehroferoze made very little-cut in their zamindari bund on request of high level personality of the country. Resultantly, Dadu city remained safe from the devastating floods. Jatoi brothers of National Peoples Party (NPP) (later merged in PML-N) had their “Ketti” with the name of Ketti Jatoi in ktacha area of Naushroferoze district which is secured by a strong zamindari bund.
Keti is the name of a large area of katcha land which consisted on thousands of acres, situated of any bank of Indus River. A high level official of Irrigation department told Business Recorder that there are many “Keties” in Sindh on both banks of Indus River which all are secured from the flood due to zamindari bunds.
There is about 2 million acres of land in ktacha areas of Sindh situated at right and left banks of Indus River, from where 6 lac acres of land are under the official control of Forest department, sources informed. Approximately, one and half lac acres of land under the control of Forest department had been given to influential landlords on the lease of 99 years while many of them had occupied a large area of forest land as well, sources claimed.
According to information gathered by this scribe from various sources that PML-N’s Sheerazi brothers have their Keti in katcha area of Thatta district which is covered with zamindari bund. Ex-Chief Minister Sindh Liaqat Jatoi has also established keti in katcha area of Dadu district; he had got the land from Forest department on lease of 99 years when he was chief minister.
In Khairpur Mir’s district, there is a ketti Kharl which had a zamindari bund for the safety. Kharl family is associated with PPPP since long time. PML-N’s leader Mumtaz Bhutto’s keti Mumtaz is situated in Larkana district; it is very popular in all keties.
Chief of Hur Jamat and Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F) Pir Pagara is also owner of a keti in district Khairpur Mir’s. In Larkana district, there are three more keties with the names of Khahrra keti, Bughia keti, keti of Sayals, owned by political bigwigs of PPPP and other parties.
In Ghotki district, there is a keti, namely Makhdoom’s ketti which has also a zamindari bund. There are many other zamindari bunds which have been made by the political bigwigs for the safety of their lands. Many of officials of Irrigation Department are of the view if zamindari bunds could be removed, flood water could not enter in pakka areas.