BY KAMRAN KHAMISO KHOWAJA
Kharochhan, a tail-end settlement along the Arabian sea near Thatta gives a deserted look today, but was once the busiest town of the coastal belt. It had Sokhi Bunder at one end and Keti Bunder at the other. Following the construction of Dams and barrages on the Indus river and an inadequate supply of water gave rise to sea intrusion which effaced the existence of Sokhi Bunder, the remnants of the effaced town can still be found under the seawater approximately 6 Kilometers away from Ketibunder.
Kharochhan is very much on the path to meet the same destiny as the population of the town is shrinking with every passing day, erosion of agricultural lands has caused the migration of people to the urban areas of the district, while the well-off families have migrated to other parts of the provinces to make their future secure. Lack of basic amenities and reducing resources of livelihood further added to their miseries and compelled them to leave their ancestral abodes.
A study carried out by this correspondent revealed that the population of the area has radically decreased from 70,000 to 5000 and around 3.10 million acres of land has been pocketed by sea over the past two decades.
Acute water scarcity during June and July further dents the economical state of the local growers and they keep raising their voice for the due share of water during the whole season.
According to residents (Reverse Osmosis Plant), RO Plants were installed by the government but became defunct after some time due to improper maintenance. They said that owing to inadequate supply of water downstream they were facing this dilemma and Kharochhan was on the verge of outright erosion. They feared if sea intrusion continued as it has been, the days are not far away when Kharochhan would be part of the history only.
It was further learnt that Sindh, being the lower riparian, has prime right on Indus waters. In the ’50s and ’60s the Indus delta was green and fertile but now the cessation of the river’s flows has destroyed a large area of agricultural land. If we happen to face a cyclone like that of 1999, it will further destroy the coastal areas and If the erosion continues, Shahbunder will disappear by 2035, and the sea will reach Thatta city by 2050.
The residents of Karochann have urged the provincial and Federal government to take precautionary measures to save this site from outright erosion.