“Johi” a forgotten city

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Ali Gul Leghari-Johi
Johi is a town of Dadu District, Sindh province, Pakistan which is located between Balouchistan and the Sindh province border. It is also Taluka of Dadu District. Johi is a famous city for having a strong historical background and some famous tourist points. Gorakh hills station situated at Khirthar range, which is also called the “Murree of Sindh” is one of the remarkable visiting place. Other notable points are Gaaj Dam, waterfall at Gaji Shah (a saint) and many other fishing points are available in the nearby hilly areas of the city. Johi is also richinmineralssuchasoil and gas and many internationalcompanies have been workingsincedecadeswhichnamedthecity”TheGoldenCity”. After the mega floods of 2010, people of Johi city have unceasingly been striving for their rights till date. In 2010, when the flood water overlapped the whole city, local elected representatives finding no any alternatives ordered the residents to leave the town for the water was in huge quantity and was amounting frequently. At that time, it was the splendor and intrepidity of Johians who constructed an embankment around the city and watched it over all the time. People belonging to all walks of life participated in this struggle to save the city. Not only young ones but children, elders even women also took part and at last they succeeded to defeat the monstrous flood water. Since then, Johians are known as brave and courageous people. But unfortunately, the poor people of golden city have always been deprived of their basic needs such as health, education, water and infrastructure despite the fact that the international companies will furnish with all aforementioned needs to the locals and its vicinity but these claims remained the part of written documents only. One of the major issue which has always remained unresolved is scarcity of drinking and irrigation water. The residents and villagers of Taluka Johi have continuously been observing sit-ins, hunger strikes, protests from the taluka to Karachi Secretariat office day to day since many years, but till today, no adequate action has ever been taken. Sindh is already having the shortage of irrigation water, but the people of Johi city are completely deprived of it since years. Actual reason for inappropriate supply of irrigation water is theft. Whenever the water is flowed in the F.P embankment, it is forcefully impeded by some politically influential people. Several times, the rangers have interrupted to regularise the flow of water but this has never been a permanent solution. Thoughthematterofirrigationwaterisafederalissue,yetitisastoundingtohearfromourlocalelectedrepresentativetheywerenotresponsiblefor shortage or theft ofirrigationwater. IfthematterbelongstofederalGovernment,ourelectedrepresentatives atleastcan highlight thisissuewith the high-ups,ifnot,atleasttheymustalsoparticipateintheprolongedongoingproteststoassurethattheyalsofeelthe pain ofthousandlocalresidents and devastated villagers. Once upon a time, when Johi was rich due to plenty of irrigation water, it was famous for producing a very delicious kind of rice for and wide and was exported to other provinces of Pakistan on demand. But regretfully due to the negligence of Government, it seems a dried desert. Thousand of villagers whose livelihood was associated with agriculture have migrated elsewhere. Not to speak of irrigation water, the residents of Johi city are also struggling for drinking water. To supply the drinking water, Sindh Government has installed Submersible pumps around some 15 Kilometres in west of Johi city which is called Kachho area. Drinking water is supplied to city by a pipeline. For this action, Sindh Government’s efforts may be appreciating but the challenges for drinking water still occur. Area of Kachho is in the upper side of city. In summer, especially in Monsoon seasons, when it rains in kheerthar mountains, the rain water which is assembled at Gaag, a hilly area where the rain water of Balouchistan through Nae and from hills is assembled here. When the water is overflowed or break the safety walls, it flows in shape of flood and wipes out everything on its way including the installed submersible pipeline which is the only source of drinking water supply to Johi and strikes the embankment of Johi. Then as usual, it take 2 to 3 months in repair and maintenance of pipelines for recovery of water supply. It is quite surprising to see how did Government invest millions in installing the submersible pipeline without keeping ahead the expected natural disasters? Sindh Government should pay a serious attention to the issues of the people of forgotten city and take all necessary steps to stop the theft of irrigation water on permanent basis. Water and irrigation department belongs to Federal Government but theft of water is a local issue.

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