SMALL dams are a valuable asset. They usually hold water with little input from the owner. Water resource development and management is imperative for sustainable agriculture in water-scarce areas.
Recently President Zardari inaugurated the Darwat Dam, located across the Nai Barn Jhangri village in Jamshoro. The dam site is about 70km west of Hyderabad, 135km northeast of Karachi, and the command area falls in Thatta district.
The major objective of the project is to use rainwater of Nai Barn for specially irrigated development of 50,000 acres of fertile cultivable land.
This area is extendable to 80,000 acres with modern technique of drip and sprinkle irrigation. Another major objective is socio-economic uplift of remote areas of Sindh and women emancipation.
It was the dream of BB, as well as of ZAB, to empower women to which President Zardari is giving a real look.
During the first phase 100 poorest landless women haris have been identified by the National Rural Support Programme. The Darwat Dam project will be ready in three years and benefit the people of Jamshoro and Thatta.
Under the programme, all land allotments are for women only. This will help them to ensure their financial and social empowerment. The crop patterns could be orchards, vegetables, fruits, cereals, pulse, etc., and would usher in green revolution through optimal use of land and water resources.
Support package: To maximise economic benefits to families, the Sindh government has provided Economic Support Package (ESP) of Rs665.543m so that beneficiaries can develop these lands and move their economic cycle.
The ESP delivery will be done by the Sindh Rural Support Programme (SRSP) consortium, i.e. Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO), National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and the Deep Rural Development Programme (RDP).
The ESP comprises agricultural inputs of seeds, fertilisers, water arrangements up to four acres (worth Rs58,000).
The ESP also includes water availability, health insurance, community participation/organisation.
The haris have now harvested their crops on these lands and have sold their first produce also.
Until now as many as 2,162 beneficiaries and their families have been provided medical health insurance cover under the support package.
Land grant policy: To bring about revolutionary changes, this programme was launched and the process of allotment of barrage state land was carried out under the Land Grant Policy 1989 Statement of Conditions (PPP government).
The following amendments to the Land Grant Policy 1989 were made on Nov 14, 2008, to achieve effectiveness in this programme:
– The upper ceiling of the grant was increased to 25 acres from 16 acres.
– The kand shall be granted to landless Haris, residing in the same deh, tappa and taluka of the district.
– The land shall be granted free of cost.
The government has now initiated a new strategy to build small dams and distribute land among landless haris. It aims at reducing poverty of the poorest of the poor, as well as at empowering women, which was the real dream of Benazir Bhutto.
Member of Sindh Assembly