Friday, February 19, 2021

Development Boom in Thar Brings Hope For Pakistan's Least Developed Region

New roads, an airport and a water reservoir in Tharparkar are opening up Pakistan's least developed region. Jobs are being created, drought-resistant nutritious trees and crops being planted and fish farms being established for the benefit of the the people of Thar. New water pond is attracting migratory birds that feed on fish. 

Tharparkar Peacock


Underground Water: 

Fortunately for the people of Thar, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company has discovered significant amount of underground water, the most precious commodity in drought-hit Tharparkar region of Pakistan.  Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SECMC and Thar Foundation was quoted by Business Recorder as saying, “While carrying out hydrogeological studies for Thar coal project, we found out abundant water reserves of groundwater at the depth of 450 plus feet in the whole of the desert region." The available water in Thar has the potential to irrigate thousands of acres of land by applying modern watering methods such as drip and sprinkler systems, he added. 

Rizvi said in collaboration with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization of Karachi University, Thar Foundation has produced commercially viable amounts of Apple Ber, guava, dates, Rhodes Grass (for livestock feed), Castor (cooking) Oil, Cluster Bean (guar), and vegetables. Utilizing the underground saline water, the foundation has piloted a 40-acre plot of land to grow fruits, vegetables, and local grass species and established Sindh’s largest private sector nursery which nurtures 500,000 saplings at a time. It has also set up a 68-acre Green Park which has grown local species of trees that comprises Neem, Babur, Roheero, Kandi, Moringa, and other species.

Gorano Pond has begun to attract a lot of migratory birds that feed on fish. Some species, the report said, have even started nesting on the partly submerged tree tops, according to the Turkish Andolu News Agency

Tharparkar Peacock: Courtesy Emmanuel Guddu via Gulf News


Moringa Trees Fight Malnutrition:

Aga Khan University and Sindh Agriculture University are jointly promoting Moringa tree planting in Pakistan's Thar desert to fight malnutrition, according to multiple media reports. Moringa has gained popularity as superfood in the West in recent years. People of drought-stricken Tharparkar have been suffering from malnutrition and disease in the middle of a long-running drought in the region. Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam, and the Aga Khan University will plant 40,000 moringa tree seedlings in Matiari, a rural district in central Sindh, in an effort to improve the health of malnourished mothers, children and adolescents in the area. The moringa tree plantation campaign has been funded by the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment, a $10 million fund dedicated to practical solutions to environmental problems.  

Moringa tree packs 92 essential nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories and 18 amino acids which help your body heal and build muscle. Native to South Asia, the hardy and drought-resistant Moringa tree can contribute to everything from better vision and stronger immune system to healthier bones and skin. Moringa has 25 times more iron than spinach, 17 times more calcium than milk, 15 times more potassium than bananas and nine times more protein than yoghurt,  according to Dr. Shahzad Basra of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan. “It also has seven times more vitamin C compared to oranges, over 10 times more vitamin A compared to carrots and three times more vitamin E compared to almonds", he added. No wonder the powder made from Moringa leaves is sold as superfood in the West. Global market for Moringa products is estimated at $5 billion and growing at 8% CAGR. 

Fish Production For Protein:

Dewatering operation of the deep aquifers underneath the coal deposits has discovered large amounts of water which has been removed and pumped into a lake called Gorano Pond. This has opened up  organic fish farming in the region. 


Gorano is 35 KMs south of the Islamkot Taulka where an artificial reservoir of 1500 Acres was established, according to Business Recorder.  Dewatering started in April 2017 from SECMC coal mine and so far, 600 Acres of the reservoir have been filled with water. More than 100,000 fish-seedlings (3-4inches in size) were initially released and within 8-9 months with full grown fish reaching more than 1Kg in weight only on natural feed (Zooplanktons, Phytoplanktons, Algae and other marine insects available in Pond) and were declared fit for consumption by an external laboratory.

Jobs For Locals:

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), the largest contractor working in Thar desert coal project, has committed itself to hiring locals wherever possible.

When SECMC launched its Female Dump Truck Driver Program near the town of Islamkot in Thar,  Kiran Sadhwani, a female engineer, visited several villages to motivate women to apply for the job and empower themselves, according to Express Tribune newspaper. “Not all women who are working as dumper drivers are poor or in dire need of money. It is just that they want to work and earn a living for themselves and improve the lives of their families,” she told the paper. SEMC is hiring 30 women truck drivers for its Thar projects, according to Dawn newspaper.

Private Sector's Role in Thar:

Most of the social sector improvement effort in Tharparkar is part of what is known as "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR). It is led by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co (SECMC), and the Thar Foundation, funded by SECMC. SECMC is joint venture of Engro Corporation (Dawood Group) and Sindh government.  The Thar Foundation is a special department under SECMC that serves as the CSR office of the Thar project, and handles all the CSR work in the entire Thar area on behalf of all the funding parties. Also helping out are Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund & several universities in Sindh, including Karachi University, Aga Khan University and Tando Jam Agriculture University.

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40 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Castor oil is a thick, odorless oil made from the seeds of the castor plant. Its use dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was first used as lamp fuel and later for medicinal and beauty treatments — Cleopatra reportedly believed the oil would brighten the whites of her eyes.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/castor-oil-health-benefits#1


Today, most of the world’s castor oil is produced in India. Modern research backs up some of its traditional uses, including laxative effects, anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to help induce labor.

While studies continue to investigate other potential health benefits, castor oil is considered safe if used as directed, and can be found in a range of skin and hair care products sold today. Pure castor oil is also available at many specialty health stores.

You can put the oil directly on your skin or take it orally in small amounts. Some people also make castor “oil packs.” Castor oil packs are made of cloth that is soaked in castor oil and applied to affected areas. Because of its potency, castor oil is not used in cooking or added to food.


More than 90% of castor oil’s fatty acid content is ricinoleic acid. Research shows that this omega-9 has pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. When applied to the skin may help relieve issues like joint pain and menstrual cramps.


Castor oil is a common ingredient in many beauty products. It’s rich in essential fatty acids that moisturize the skin, and research continues to study how their properties may be effective in treating common skin conditions.

Castor oil has also been used to help pregnant women with delivery for centuries. In fact, a survey from 1999 found that 93% of midwives in the U.S. used castor oil to induce labor. While further research is needed, one study found that castor oil initiated labor in 91% of women with little to no childbirth complications.

Riaz Haq said...

Instead of prescribing allopathic medicine, which may address only the manifestation of the illness, Eastern Medicine often treats the underlying cause: rather than slapping on chemical-laden ointment for acne, Unani Tibb physicians and Eastern Medicine practitioners would prefer removing impurities from blood through the use of neem leaves and Smilax chinensis, a plant commonly known as China root that’s used for its anti-psoriatic properties.



http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20201020-pakistans-ingenious-solutions-to-life







The holistic treatments that Eastern Medicine advises, (stemming from Ayurveda and Unani Tibb), Ahmed explained, are based on the art of treating the whole person to keep the body’s elusive balance and equilibrium intact. Ahmed spent childhood weekends performing cleaning rituals of her stomach. The cleansing and laxative effect of castor oil on Saturdays, followed by probiotic-rich yoghurt on Sundays, leads to optimal gut health.

“The entire body is interconnected. You can’t expect your stomach to work one day and your brain the next,” she said, citing this approach of interconnectedness as one of the cardinal principles of Unani and Eastern medicine.

Instead of prescribing allopathic medicine, which may address only the manifestation of the illness, Eastern Medicine often treats the underlying cause: rather than slapping on chemical-laden ointment for acne, Unani Tibb physicians and Eastern Medicine practitioners would prefer removing impurities from blood through the use of neem leaves and Smilax chinensis, a plant commonly known as China root that’s used for its anti-psoriatic properties.

Riaz Haq said...

Most of the inhabitants of the Thar desert can grow crops only after a downpour has transformed the arid land into lush greenery. But Allahrakhio Khoso, a 60-year-old farmer, does not need to wait for rain.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1571967

In the city of Nagarparkar, in the shadow of the Karoonjhar mountains, Khoso has made an orchard in the desert a reality by using matkas or pitchers — an everyday object more commonly found in the home than in the field.

After eight years, Khoso has 400 berry trees, 70 lemon trees, three mango trees and four pomegranate trees. He grows vegetables such as okra, bitter melon, onions, chilies and tinda (a type of squash), as well as watermelon, on his land in the district of Tharparkar.

Khoso can grow berries, lemons, mangoes, pomegranates, watermelon and vegetables. — Photo by Zulfiqar Khoso
In pitcher irrigation, a large clay pot with a wide bottom and narrow top is buried in the ground and filled with water. The water is slowly released into the surrounding soil and absorbed by the roots of nearby plants, minimising the amount of precious liquid lost to evaporation.

In pitcher irrigation, a large clay pot is buried in the ground near a plant and filled with water. —
Water in the desert
Rich in coal but poor in water, Thar is the largest desert zone in the province of Sindh. Its residents depend on rainfall; most people fetch their daily water from wells and store rainwater in water tanks. In summer, many wells run dry and groundwater becomes brackish.

To this day, some wells are dug without modern machinery. Recently four workers dieddigging a well when the walls fell in on them.

Water is so important a commodity that it even features in marriage negotiations; before a proposal is accepted, the parents of a bride will ask the groom’s family how close the nearest well is. In greetings, people also ask about sweet water wells.

Nevertheless, living in the desert does not mean thirst and poverty are inevitable.

How does pitcher irrigation work?
"Many years back, one of my friends came to visit our village and he discussed pitcher irrigation," said Khoso. "I got the idea and started working on it. In the beginning, it was quite hard but now it looks very simple. I thought that if I could make my farm green without rainwater, then I should go for it."

Khoso has made an orchard in the desert a reality. — Photo by Zulfiqar Khoso
To install a new pitcher, Khoso first makes a small hole in the bottom of a pitcher. He puts a rope through the hole, then buries the pitcher, packing mud and sand tightly around it. This leaves only the mouth of the pitcher exposed, which Khoso fills with water. The water seeps through the porous clay and soaks through the rope into the sand, where it is absorbed by the roots of the crops he has planted close by. As well as natural fertilisers, Khoso uses mud from Virawah, a city near Nagarparkar where there is an ancient lake.

Each pitcher is two to three feet wide and holds 10 litres of water, which will irrigate the soil for 15 to 20 days. New pitchers are better for irrigation because they are more porous and, once in place, will last three years. Khoso fetches water roughly every 10 days — there is a well on his farm, and another nearby.

For trees, Khoso uses one pitcher per plant; sometimes two pitchers for mango trees, planting trees 25 feet (7.6 metres) apart. The amount of water needed depends on the crop, with trees requiring more pitchers. Khoso now has 400 pitchers irrigating his orchard.

Khoso believes this is a more effective method than drip irrigation, where pipes release a certain amount of water and fertiliser per minute directly to the roots of each plant. He said that while drip irrigation is suitable for vegetables, for orchards pitcher irrigation can deliver water more efficiently to the plant.

He calculated that 280 litres was enough for his 400 berry trees for 10 days.

Pomegranates are one of the crops Khoso has been able to produce using his method.

Riaz Haq said...

Interloop CSR Case Study In Swiss dissertation at Business University of Lausanne

With increased awareness concerning societal challenges, organizations around the globe have started realizing their responsibility towards the social and environmental concerns in addition to their economic challenges. Among these companies is also Interloop Limited, located in the sub‐continent region of South Asia, Pakistan. Interloop is an unlisted public company with majority shares owned by one family. The company is one of the world’s largest sock manufacturers and exporters with hosiery being its core business. It has an annual turnover exceeding $250 million (Company Business, 2014). Besides hosiery, Interloop is a reputed manufacturer of quality yarn. It is a vertically integrated organization with in‐house spinning, yarn dyeing, knitting and finishing facilities. Interloop Limited was established in 1992 with only 10 knitting machines on the floor but currently, Interloop houses over 3,500 knitting machines, 46,704 ring‐spinning spindles and has more than 13,000 employees (Company Business, 2014). The Company offers a wide range of socks with various quality levels and price points in line with all types of customers including brands, retailers and specialty stores, in addition to its quality yarns for denim, hosiery and the weaving industry.
In‐house designing, product development facilities and a recently established Research & Innovation Center, with a team of technical experts, have paved the way to serve Interloop customers' needs well in time. Being a full service supplier, Interloop offers a unique set of services besides offering a quality product. This includes, but is not limited to market intelligence, trend projections, product design and development support, VMI3 (Vendor Managed Inventory) services and distribution centers offering pick and pack services across the Globe (Company Business, 2014). This unique combination of product and service differentiates Interloop from the rest of the textile companies in the world and hence Interloop has the privilege of providing services to such leading retailers as JCPenny, H&M, SportMaster, Tesco, C&A, Penney, Primark,


https://www.bsl-lausanne.ch/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Interloop-Limited-by-S.-Gull.pdf

MOU with The Citizens Foundation: For CSR purposes, Interloop cooperates with non‐profit organizations
(NPOs) which are doing something worthy for the development of the nation and which are sustainable
themselves (Interview Zulqarnain). An important achievement in this regard is the establishment of 14
schools, for less privileged children, in collaboration with a Non‐Profit Organization, The Citizens Foundation
(TCF).
In 2009, Interloop signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TCF which is Pakistan’s leading non‐profit
organization in the field of formal education. This was another social welfare contribution which marked
Interloop as an ethically and socially responsible organization in the minds of both the internal and external
stakeholders. Initially, 4 schools were built again in collaboration with Dobotex International and later the
number of schools increased over a period of time. Interloop proudly owns this contribution and gladly
expresses its efforts for providing quality education to the less privileged in its newsletters as well.

Riaz Haq said...

PARCO has built and supported three schools with The Citizens Foundation (TCF) – a reputable NGO working in the area of imparting quality education – at Karachi and Qasba Gujrat, near PARCO Mid-Country Refinery. These schools employ all female staff belonging to the nearby communities. These campuses have generated employment for the local women to earn a decent living.

Amongst the above mentioned three campuses, the PARCO–TCF Campus I at Karachi and Campus II at Qasba Gujrat offers education till Grade V and are operating at full capacity. The PARCO-TCF Campus I at Karachi operates morning and afternoon shifts. In August 2012, the Company extended academic block of PARCO-TCF Primary Campus II to accommodate 180 students.

PARCO has built a third campus, a secondary school in Qasba Gujrat which commenced classes in April 2011. All PARCO-TCF campuses are built in under-privileged communities and impart quality education to around 1,080 children.


https://www.parco.com.pk/csr/education-health/

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan State Oil Company Limited (PSO), the largest oil marketing company of Pakistan, has donated Rs 12 million to The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF), one of Pakistan’s leading not-for-profit in the education sector. The announcement came at a ceremony organized by PSO where MD and CEO PSO, Sheikh Imranul Haque, presented the cheque of support to the Co-founder TCF, Mr. Mushtaq Chhapra. Chairman, PSO CSR Trust, Mr. Yacoob Suttar was also present on the occasion with other officials from both organizations.
Pakistan continues to face an education emergency. Statistics suggest almost 44% (22.6 million) children between the age of 5 and 16 are out of school. PSO CSR Trust’s donation to TCF will ensure continued provision of education for deserving students from some of the most underprivileged backgrounds. Under the support agreed with TCF, PSO is adopting five TCF campuses, also constructed with PSO support, for a period of one year. Three out of five schools are located in areas hit by the terrible 2008’s earthquake.
Other than the above donation, PSO has also pledged construction of a TCF campus in one of the underdeveloped localities of the country. Member, PSO CSR Trust, Mr Baber Hamid Chaudhary and the Vice President, TCF, Mr. Zia Akhter Abbas, also signed a memorandum of understanding to confirm the support. Senior officials from both sides attended the ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sheikh Imranul Haque, MD & CEO, PSO said:
“Millions of children in Pakistan remain out of school. This brings a huge responsibility on every one of us to ensure access to education for our children. A well-educated population is important to boost the economy, broaden their outlook, and to ensure a bright future for our country.”

https://www.tcf.org.pk/2017/12/pso-adopts-tcf-schools-to-ensure-continued-provision-of-education-for-underprivileged-students/

Riaz Haq said...

Companies which lead CSR activities in Pakistan
Some of the local and international enterprises have realized their roles concerning CSR activities in Pakistan. Let’s have a look at how they are contributing to the cause, here in Pakistan.

1- Unilever’s role in CSR activities in Pakistan
One has to appreciate the efforts of Unilever Pakistan in this regard. Its Sustainable Living Plan outlines some key goals which are crucial to development in Pakistan. The environment is in focus majorly, as efforts are envisioned which will eventually reduce the carbon footprint in Pakistan. Known as talent hunters globally, Unilever’s employment policies constitute a major percentage of its CSR activities. However, Unilever is fully aware of the moral obligations associated with such policies. This is why we haven’t come across any cases where the corporation was accused of exploitation.

Although many remain unaware of this, Unilever is the key leader of many CSR activities in Pakistan. You might remember one such example from the advertisement called Madad aik Ibadat. A popular detergent company was the key partner in this initiative. This campaign, which still goes one as we speak, is a part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.

2- PTCL’s efforts to promote CSR activities in Pakistan
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited has also set certain goals concerning social and environmental issues in Pakistan. The much-famed telecommunication company actively participates in several CSR activities in Pakistan. The major focus at PTCL revolves around health, education, environment and community service projects.

The tree-plantation drives at PTCL reflect the efforts to preserve the environment. There are also programs for children, which aim at improving children’s character and making them responsible citizens. Human resource management at any company is indicative of how employees are treated there. The agreement which PTCL made with Collective Bargaining Agent- CBA has benefitted its employees most fruitfully.

There are several other CSR activities in Pakistan in which PTCL engages actively. These include medical services for employees, blood donation drives and post-retirement beneficial schemes.

3- How Coca Cola highlighted the need for increased CSR activities in Pakistan
Bottle of change was a campaign that aimed at fundraising for Pakistan’s biggest social welfare service, The Edhi foundation. The brand leader for this mega CSR activity in Pakistan was Coca Cola. The most amazing feature of this campaign was Coca Cola’s paramount interest. The brand promised that it will double any donations it received during this fundraiser. Women Entrepreneurship Program, a gold winner at SABRE gold awards 2016, is another hallmark of Coca Cola’s CSR activities.

These two fine examples show that Coca Cola is a key leader in CSR activities in Pakistan. It will be wondrous if more companies could follow the suit!

4- MCB’s major contributions in CSR activities in Pakistan
It would be unfair, not to mention the contributions of MCB in this regard. Several Corporate Social Responsibility activities in Pakistan wouldn’t have been possible, had it not been for MCB’s active participation. These activities target various aspects of governance, culture, sports, health, and education.


https://www.transparenthands.org/csr-activities-in-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

A massive solar energy project to power more than 200,000 homes in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been initiated.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/pakistan-solar-project-to-power-200000-homes-in-sindh-1.76827166

The provincial government has finalised the environment-friendly project with the suppliers to provide solar-powered electricity to 200,000 households in 10 districts of Sindh, the provincial energy minister Imtiaz Shaikh said. The 10 districts include Badin, Tharparkar, Khairpur, Sujawal, Mithi, Sanghar, Ghotki, Kashmore, Jacobabad and Qambar Shahdadkot.

The $30 million initiative for rural households with low or no grid access is part of the Sindh Solar Energy Project (SSEP) that aims to increase solar power generation and access to electricity in Sindh province. The World Bank has provided $100 million of financing for SSEP to support utility-scale solar power, distributed solar on and around public buildings, and provision of solar systems to households.


The SSEP project includes a 400MW solar park at Manjhand town in Jamshoro district at a cost of $40 million, a $25 million project to install rooftop solar systems on public sector buildings in Karachi and Hyderabad with 20MW capacity, and the $30 million to provide 200,000 rural households access to affordable solar home systems.

Riaz Haq said...

Parc working to ensure food security in Thar - Newspaper

https://www.dawn.com/news/1598608



Parc North Zone Director Dr Attaullah said that 14 varieties of guava, matching the local ecology, were also developed and distributed among the farmers to develop fruit orchids.

Besides, 38 varieties of dates were also grown and 13 types of different grasses over 10 acres of land were also grown, he said adding that these interventions had helped create livelihood opportunities as well as fulfilling the food requirements of the local communities.

Meanwhile, forest blocks were also established on four acres and different fruit plants including olive cultivated, he said adding that jojoba plants were grown over 45 acres in order to develop orchards and fruit farming in these areas.

In collaboration with the local foundation, about 50,000 plants of different kinds including fruits and trees for shadow had also been provided to 20 villages, he added.

Riaz Haq said...

With the increasing significance of corporate philanthropy and awareness of corporate social responsibility to deliver socio-economic benefits at gross root level, telecommunication companies in Pakistan are working on the same agenda for making “social friends”. Telecommunication industry in Pakistan has its prime role in adopting CSR strategies for the social welfare activities, providing assistance to the community in elevating literacy rate, eliminating poverty through monetary policy and providing with health facilities. Four telecommunication companies MOBILINK, WARID, UFONE and TELENOR are studied in this respect for studying their CSR activities with the prime focus upon their Philanthropic contribution in health, education and community development in the Pakistani society. Furthermore, environment protection is also the focused area of all the four organizations.
It is pertinent to mention here that all of the four companies contributed during the flood relief activities. Moreover, all seems interested to do philanthropic activities but at different levels.
MOBILINK leads in corporate social responsibility activities; providing health, education and community services through charity, active employee volunteerism etc. Mobilink is the leading CSR contributing company and oldest mobile company in Pakistan which has largest consumers in Pakistan. Employee volunteerism is the distinguishing feature of Mobilink which makes it different from other three telecommunication companies.
WARID, on the other hand, focuses on health and education assistance to needy persons. Warid has the strategy to provide customer satisfaction and community development. Warid has the privileged upon other three companies when it celebrates Worlds Tobacco day on health issues. Warid has the distinguishing characteristics that support white ribbon campaign for violence against women in PAKISTAN.
Most of the attention is focused to provide education to Pakistani community is the agenda of TELENOR. The manifestations of TELENOR Company for providing education are scholarships and construction of school buildings. Telenor has edged upon other three companies after contributing in Attaabad landslide event. Furthermore TELENOR is keener to eradicate the evil of child labour in Pakistan. TELENOR is the only company which has partnership with international organizations i.e. UNICEF, RED CROSS, NOBEL PEACE CENTER and GSMA for charity purposes.
UFONE merely focus on health and education having low contribution in the list. In collaboration with the citizen foundation Rahbar, a mentor program, for Youth development completed seven successful Cycles in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. Furthermore, As per evaluation of the content of the official website of UFONE it is found that it doesn’t have any significant contribution in other sectors.

http://lgu.edu.pk/research/images/pdf/social-sciences/volume-1-issue-1/6.%20CORPORATE%20RESPONSIBILITYAbul%20Hassan.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

While businesses try to address the gaps in their operating models to counter Covid-19–induced recession, both global and local brands have stepped up to play their part as brand activists and social crisis responders. Examples surfaced in a matter of weeks as brands called for “flattening the curve” through social distancing. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Mercedes-Benz bombarded digital media with their visual identities in support of social distancing. Emirates was among the first companies to encourage staff to go on paid leave.

Brand activism also takes the form of donations to organisations fighting the pandemic. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has directed all listed companies to divert their CSR funds towards fighting Covid-19. The largest donor to the cause from the private sector is Engro Corporation Chairman Hussain Dawood who pledged Rs1 billion.

Biscuit-maker EBM announced that it would dedicate its advertising budget to the fight. Unilever Pakistan announced a donation of Rs200m. Textile exporter Interloop Ltd announced a donation of Rs20m. Pakistan Cables Ltd collaborated with the Karachi Relief Trust and pledged Rs2m.


https://www.dawn.com/news/1548661

Riaz Haq said...

KARACHI: Foreign investors have spent Rs16 billion in Pakistan on corporate social responsibility programmes during 2019-2020, Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) report showed.

The annual CSR Report 2019-2020 showed that about half of OICCI members invested about Rs8 billion collectively on CSR-related activities, excluding the amount spent on Covid-19. The members reached out to around 62 million direct beneficiaries throughout Pakistan, OICCI statement said.

In addition to monetary contributions, the CSR activities of OICCI members included investment of their employees’ time in different value-adding social activities across Pakistan with the underlying commitment to uplift the underprivileged strata of the society during these trying times.

About 100 of the leading foreign investors actively participated in support of the government’s effort to fight the pandemic.

OICCI President Haroon Rashid said there has been a noticeable increase in sustainable CSR activities over the last few years. “OICCI members have adopted the best CSR and sustainability practices, largely in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to meet the growing needs of the society.”


https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/773817-foreign-investors-spend-rs16bln-on-csr-in-2019-20

Riaz Haq said...

Some honey collectors believe the best quality honey comes from Karoonjahr Hills, Nagar Parkar, Tharparkar district. Because there are several herbal plants, which bees are fond of, and are rich in nutrition and useful for herbal medicines.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/650707-sindh-s-honey-hunters-stay-sweet-on-survival-despite-stings


Akhtar Hussain, a daily wager, working in an agriculture field prefers to collect honey during the season starting from March, April, May and June or September-October. During the season, he travels daily towards tree groves and fruit orchards in search of beehives and collect little honey in bottles that he can later sell for money.


In his understanding, he gets merely Rs300-400 daily for his work in agriculture fields during normal days, while honey hunting can earn him Rs2000—3000 daily, depending on the availability of beehives.

The authenticity of its purity can be measured from the low rates, as greedy lot sells a liter bottle of adulterated honey for Rs700—800/litre only, by mixing sugar or other materials in it, compared to prices of original, available at Rs2000—3000 per liter.

Hussain said, “Obviously, everybody wants to keep this valuable natural treat homes to use for curing ailments or self-consumption, but most of the people cannot afford it in these days”.

Selling honey is the source of livelihood for several people in villages, who collect it from different areas hanging on trees and bushes.

When the spring/plant flowering season starts, these people adopt this practice for a few months to earn a little extra for their families by selling honey to direct customers or shops in the local market.

Veteran honey collectors residing near the forest villages recall the blissful days of the past when they used to collect more honeydew for sale and keep little at homes for family members. But now, they say, neither is there left any forest cover, nor are there as many beehives as they used to be in the bygone golden days to attract collectors.

Depleting forests, rangelands, groves, increasing use of chemical input to agriculture crops and persistent water scarcity in the river and canals have together contributed to the disappearance of beehives and caused the biodiversity to shrink.

Wherever the river flows, providing water to irrigation channels for agriculture crops, flowering seasons of fruits and vegetables always attract honeybees to extract nectar from flowers.

In present day situation, raw honey is the most precious product in market, because the refined honey coming from bee farms have dominated the entire markets.

From the reports gathered from different ecological zones in Sindh province of Pakistan, The News has learned the areas have different kinds of honey having different flavours and qualities depending on to variety of crops, flowers, fruits and herbal plants, wherefrom these bees collect nectar.

Obviously, the riverine forests have been cleaned for agriculture purposes, leaving a small patch of trees to remind its glorious past. The farmers and herders residing in the villages situated on both the sides of the river seem lucky always to collect honey for their own consumption or spare little for sale.

Ali Gul Khoso from a village near Unarpur town, once a prosperous market of forest products in Jamshoro district, said, “During these days somebody may see more beehives after flowering season in the area, but only a few people can understand that beginning of spring season is the breeding time for honeybees”. “Thus, traditional honey collectors, being aware, cannot disturb beehives and let the bees to thrive on the fresh nectar from flowers.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Karachi-based Denim-Maker Artistic Milliners Makes $370M Investment in #Hydropower Projects in #Pakistan demonstrating commitment to sustainability. It will also include the development of wind and solar projects, as well as an operational #wind farm. https://sourcingjournal.com/denim/denim-mills/artistic-milliners-hydropower-projects-pakistan-energy-generation-ushu-river-264756/

Karachi, Pakistan-based denim manufacturer Artistic Milliners further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability with a $370 million investment in two run of river hydropower projects.

Artistic Milliners’ hydropower plants, Hydro I and Artistic Hydro II, will contribute a combined 521 GWh per year. According to Italian energy company ERG SpA, that’s enough energy to meet the demand of more than 133,000 homes. Both plants are located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with Artistic I Hydro pulling from the Panjkora River and Artistic II Hydro pulling from the Ushu River.


The project will also include the development of wind and solar projects, as well as an operational wind farm.

Regulatory authorities are currently processing generation licenses and tariffs needed for the projects, and commercial operation is slated to begin by December 2027.

According to the International Hydropower Association, renewable hydropower is a clean and low-cost source of electricity generation and responsible water management. Specifically, run-of-river hydropower channels flowing water from a river to spin a turbine. This form of energy uses water flow that is regulated by the facility for a continuous supply of electricity. It’s currently a significant energy source in Pakistan, representing around 25 percent of capacity and 21 percent of generation.

This investment is part of Artistic Milliner’s overall commitment to the land in which it operates. At the end of last year, Artistic Milliners launched the Milliner Cotton Initiative, a call for visibility and women empowerment throughout the cotton supply chain. It also encompasses capacity building for ginners and promotes practices for mitigating extortion throughout the Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab, Pakistan.

Artistic Milliners is also the first and only Pakistan-based company to abide by the United Nations’ 1.5°C-compliant business model to help mitigate the climate crisis. It has aggressive sustainability targets in place to reach net zero emission by 2025.

Riaz Haq said...

Shanghai Electric's Ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts Receive Award from All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shanghai-electrics-ongoing-corporate-social-083300497.html

Shanghai Electric (the "Company") (SEHK: 02727, SSE: 601727), the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of electric power generation equipment, industrial equipment and integration services, has received the Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the Karachi branch of the All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association (APCEA). The award recognizes the Company's contribution to the social development of the region in 2020, and its active commitment to CSR.

"We are truly honored to receive this recognition from the APCEA. Shanghai Electric will continue to promote the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the future and strive to ensure the smooth construction and operation of the Thar Block-1 Integrated Mining-Power project. At the same time, we remain steadfastly committed to promoting the advancement of Pakistan's energy projects, in order to benefit more people in the local community," said Meng Donghai, CEO of Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company.

The Thar Block-1 Integrated Mining-Power project ("the Project") was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, which in turn affected the local community in Mithi City and the wider Sindh Province. As the project developer, Shanghai Electric swiftly responded when the Pakistani government implemented lockdown measures in March 2020, working closely with the Sindh Government to assist locals during the challenging period.

In April, the Company donated essential supplies to Pakistan's 441 Infantry Brigade to ensure the safety of the army. Shanghai Electric also donated supplies to Mithi City, and distributed protective materials, grain and oil to help local teams address food and clothing shortages in impoverished villages. Later in July, Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company together with the Sino Sindh Resources Company on behalf of Shanghai Electric donated 6 million rupees to Sindh Province to found Corona Virus Emergency Fund, which aims to help the local government and community tackle the epidemic challenges.

At the same time, the Project is trying to overcome numerous difficulties and accelerated implementation, whilst ensuring compliance with pandemic prevention and control measures. The entry and opening of the main plant's steel structure was completed in July 2020, laying a solid foundation for the on-time completion of subsequent project nodes.

The national lockdown and travel restriction slowed down the construction progress of the project at the height of the pandemic in Pakistan last year. To swiftly respond to the emergency, Shanghai Electric arranged charter flights to dispatch engineers and workers to accelerate the project progress, alongside 4 tonnes of personal protective equipment, essential supplies, office supplies and emergency medicine also to on-site employees.

Over the past year, Shanghai Electric has made continuous efforts to promote local employment in Sindh Province. As of January 2021, the Project had more than 5,000 employees working on the site - over 75% of whom are local staff. Shanghai Electric organized dedicated pre-job training to help workers improve their working skills, and brought senior Chinese technicians on board to pass on their skills, knowledge and experience to locally hired workers. In October 2020, the power company held a soldering competition to encourage local welders to demonstrate their professional expertise in the spirit of pursuing perfection.


Riaz Haq said...

Remarkable development with miraculous achievement and boon for Thar - Pakistan Today


https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/03/15/remarkable-development-with-miraculous-achievement-and-boon-for-thar/


The government of Pakistan has taken indispensable initiatives to covert Thar as a major economic zone for the major foreign direct investment and projection economic and industrial activities. It is mandatory to mention that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is fervently engaged in coal mining and its power generation plants have been successfully adding 660 Mega Walt(MW) coal-generated energy in the national grid. whereas 1320 MW will be added to the national grid by Sino Sindh Resource Private Limited ( SSRL). There are two under construction power plants of Thal Nova and Hubco Thar Energy limited of 330 MW each and they will also add their power to the national grid by 2020. Hence, it won’t be incorrect to assume that Thar will change Pakistan.

It is meritorious to mention that Sindh Government has taken praiseworthy and remarkable initiatives to facilitate and encourage the investment and industrialisation in the Tharparkar district with vivid infrastructural development such as a widespread network of well-constructed roads, construction of the 42 small dams, water carrier pipelines, dam for the reservoir of rainwater in Tharparkar district, establishment of the Mai Bhakhtawar airport, Establishment of NED University Campus, schools by Engro with the collaboration of TCF and the start of the state of the art institutions of heart diseases the institute of Cardiovascular Diseases( NICVD) and several other projects.

The Sindh government has made a remarkable initiative on constructing 42 small dams in Thar. The construction of 23 dams has successfully completed and inaugurated by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and he showed an eager interest in the completion of the remaining 11 small dams will be completed by 2022. The initiative of the construction of small dams will not only provide fresh drinking water to 87 villages but will irrigate 85000 acres of land. At present constructed 23 dams have immensely contributed to the irrigation of the hundred acres of land with bumper crops of wheat, Onions, Garlic, Oats, Gawaar, and other crops which is indeed a miraculous achievement of the Sindh government for the prosperity of the People that was the vision of Mohtrama Shaheed Banzeer Bhutto and Bilawal Bhutto which coming to happen as an undeniable reality.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to get $1.3 billion #WorldBank loan for social safety net (#EhsaasKafaalat), #infrastructure & governance. Projects include 35 small rainwater-fed #groundwater recharge #dams in #Sindh: #Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, & Tharparkar. #water
https://www.geo.tv/latest/341738-pakistan-strikes-13-billion-development-agreement-with-world-bank


Pakistan has reached an agreement with World Bank to work on seven projects worth $1.3 billion aimed at improving social protection, infrastructure, and governance, a statement from the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday.

Minister for Economic Affairs, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar witnessed the signing ceremony of seven project agreements at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

"This financing will support the government’s initiatives in Social Protection, Disaster and Climate Risk Management, Improving Infrastructure for Resilience, Agriculture and Food Security, Human Capital Development and Governance Sectors," the statement said.

The agreement includes the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Programme (CRISP) worth $600 million. The objective of the programme is to support the development of a more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to future crisis-resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country.

"The programme is focused on the key initiatives being undertaken by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) under the Ehaas Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes," the statement said.

The second project worth $200 million is the Locust Emergency and Food Security Project that will introduce a set of customised activities — such as conducting locust surveillance and controlling operations, rehabilitating livelihoods of affected rural communities and farmers — to effectively address the desert locust outbreak.

The third project worth $200 million is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project.

It aims to improve the availability, utilisation, and quality of primary healthcare services and elementary education services in four districts — Peshawar, Nowshera Haripur, and Swabi — of KP that have been hosting refugees.

The Sindh Resilience Project worth $200 Million — the fourth project — is to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters and public health emergencies.

"The project will support the establishment of the Sindh Emergency Service, including the development of six divisional headquarters operational facilities, provision of equipment, and training of personnel," it said.

It will also support the construction of 35 small rainwater-fed recharge dams in drought-prone regions of Sindh including Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, and Nagarparker in Tharparkar districts.

The fifth project and sixth projects, Balochistan Livelihood and Entrepreneurship, and Balochistan Human Capital Investment Projects, worth $86 million aim to promote employment opportunities for rural communities; achieve sustainability of enterprises, and improve utilisation of quality health and education services in the province.

The final and seventh project, the Supporting Institutional Interventions for Management of Refugees Project, worth $50 million, aims to improve organisational and institutional capacity for managing refugees and host communities.

Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs Noor Ahmed signed the financing agreements on behalf of the federal government, while representatives of Sindh, KP, and Balochistan signed their respective project agreements online.

World Bank's Country Director Najy Benhassine signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank. The country director assured his institution's continuous financial and technical support to Pakistan in a bid to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Philanthropists, charities help poor during Ramadan

http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-asia/pakistan-philanthropists-charities-help-poor-ramadan/


Despite a surge in coronavirus cases and rising inflation, grocery stores and supermarkets in Karachi, the country’s commercial capital, are overcrowded with customers ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Neatly wrapped packets and boxes of lentils, flour, rice, cooking oil, tea, spices, beverages, and other food items are arranged in shelves at a sprawling supermarket in the city’s eastern district.

Citizens are buying more than the usual not only to cope with the extra consumption, but to distribute among the less fortunate, or those who have been unemployed due to an economic slowdown aided by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The downturn has particularly impacted those below poverty line – nearly 25% of Pakistan’s 210 million population.

“Ramadan is the perfect time to help others,” Mohammad Younus, a customer, told Anadolu agency while maneuvering through a crowded corridor with an overstuffed trolley.

Yunus is one of the millions of Pakistanis who distribute rations, alms, and clothing to the less fortunate in Ramadan, when devotees abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset.

“This time, the poor need and deserve more. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs over the past year due to COVID-19 as businesses have been hit hard,” he said. “I’ve been distributing rations to 15-20 people on the eve of Ramadan for years, but this year I plan to double the figure … we are duty-bound to provide them relief during the holy month.”

There are similar scenes in Judia Bazar, one of the city’s largest and oldest wholesale markets.

“We have bought double the rations compared to the previous year due to the rising demand,” Mohammad Yusuf, a businessman who runs a small charity in New Karachi Town, told Anadolu Agency.

This has given some hope to traders for a slight improvement in otherwise sluggish business activity. “We expect more sales this time,” Anas Sultan, a grocery wholesaler, told Anadolu Agency, adding that they relaxed credit deadlines for small retailers “as they were in trouble.”

– Zakat

Most Pakistanis prefer to pay their zakat – the obligatory Muslim charity tax – during Ramadan, expecting more rewards from God.

Zakat, which is “purifying” one’s earnings or savings, is one of Islam’s five pillars. Any Muslim who owns a certain amount of money, gold, silver, or other assets is bound to pay 2.5% of his or her excess annual wealth to the needy.

In Pakistan it is mandated and collected by the government. Apart from helping the less fortunate, zakat also assists charities run their operations throughout the year.

These organizations help stem the economic burden on low-income groups.

Al-Khidmat Foundation, which also runs a countrywide chain of charity hospitals, including a modern facility in the southern desert area of Thar, plans to provide rations to 500,000 people across the country during Ramadan.

“Our focus is on the remote areas and people who have been affected by COVID-19,” Abdul Shakoor, the foundation’s president, told Anadolu Agency. He shared that 10% of his organization’s annual budget is met through zakat.

The foundation is also carrying out several projects, mainly for the provision of clean water in collaboration with Turkey’s state-run aid agency – Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

“Charity is hardwired in the blood of Pakistanis. Almost every Pakistani, in one way or the other donates something,” Shakoor said.

The Saylani Welfare Trust also plans providing 100,000 ration bags to the underprivileged in Karachi during the month, according to Amjad Chamriya, an official who deals with the charity’s ration distribution process.

The charity says it will also serve Iftar (sunset meal to break the fast) to around 250,000 people.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) was working to ensure food security in Thar desert and for the purpose, it had cultivated different kinds of fruits, vegetables and fodder crops to promote agriculture sector and create livelihood opportunities for the locals. Talking to APP the Chairman PARC Dr Muhammad Azeem said the Council was engaged to strengthen the government’s efforts to eliminate malnutrition and hunger by intervening through agriculture and livestock development.


https://nation.com.pk/04-Jan-2021/parc-working-on-agricultural-promotion-to-ensure-food-security

The PARC, he said, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations had developed different farmers cluster and was providing seeds of different beans to the farmers to enhance yields. “We are providing about 200 to 300 mounds seeds of different beans, besides providing 50 to 60 mound bean for the farmers of Tharparker, he added.

“We are also working on the preservation of local species and preserved about 50 local species including trees, medicinal plants and cultivated moringa”.

Meanwhile, Dr Attaullah Director PARC North Zone told that 14 varieties of guava, matching the local ecology, were also developed and distributed among the farmers to develop fruit orchids. Besides, 38 varieties of dates were also grown and 13 types of different grasses over 10 acres of land were also grown, he said adding that these interventions had helped create livelihood opportunities as well as fulfilling the food requirements of the local communities.

Meanwhile, forest blocks were also established on 4 acres and different fruit plants including olive cultivated, he said adding that jojoba plants were grown over 45 acres to develop orchards and fruit farming in these areas. In collaboration with a local foundation, about 50,000 plants of different kinds including fruits and trees for shadow had also been provided to 20 villages, he added. “We had installed a fertilizer plant to prepare fertilizer by using locust during the current campaign against desert locust and distributed about 1500 bags of fertilizers among local farmers for producing organic agriculture products,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh mulls granite mining policy

“The approximate estimate of granite in Karoonjhar (Tharparkar)is 26 billion tons,” the meeting was informed. It was also told during the briefing that most of the granite in the region was underground.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/820180-sindh-mulls-granite-mining-policy

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Global White Marble Market Size, Growth Factors 2021: Latest Study Focuses On Current And Future Innovations (Fujian Fengshan Stone, DongXing Group, Kangli Stone Group, Jinbo Construction Group)

https://ksusentinel.com/2021/05/08/global-white-marble-market-size-growth-factors-2021-latest-study-focuses-on-current-and-future-innovations-fujian-fengshan-stone-dongxing-group-kangli-stone-group-jinbo-construction-group/


The company profile segment proposes a detailed analysis of the development policies of companies. A few of the key players mentioned include (Fujian Fengshan Stone, DongXing Group, Kangli Stone Group, Jinbo Construction Group, Xishi Group, Temmer Marble, Topalidis S. A, Alacakaya, Universal Marble & Granite, Vetter Stone, Pakistan Onyx Marble, Etgran, Mumal Marbles Pvt. Ltd, Jin Long Run Yu, SINAI, Dimpomar, Best Cheer Stone Group, Amso International, Levantina, Xiamen Wanlistone stock, Polycor inc, Xinpengfei Industry, Dermitzakis, Hongfa, Fujian Dongsheng Stone, Antolini, Indiana Limestone Company, Aurangzeb Marble Industry, INDIAN NATURAL STONES, Guanghui). From the industrial point of view, the market strategies and government policies penciled down in the report give the third party or the readers a better understanding of the market position on the global platform. Meanwhile, the regions (U.S., Germany, U.K., Italy, China, Japan, Brazil) are found to help gain more details regarding market revenue, key players, industrial status, and share of the White Marble market. In addition to all this, the historical data and the future market scope penned down in the report provide valuable parameters to understand the market growth in the upcoming years.

White Marble Market Global Competitors: Fujian Fengshan Stone, DongXing Group, Kangli Stone Group, Jinbo Construction Group, Xishi Group, Temmer Marble, Topalidis S. A, Alacakaya, Universal Marble & Granite, Vetter Stone, Pakistan Onyx Marble, Etgran, Mumal Marbles Pvt. Ltd, Jin Long Run Yu, SINAI, Dimpomar, Best Cheer Stone Group, Amso International, Levantina, Xiamen Wanlistone stock, Polycor inc, Xinpengfei Industry, Dermitzakis, Hongfa, Fujian Dongsheng Stone, Antolini, Indiana Limestone Company, Aurangzeb Marble Industry, INDIAN NATURAL STONES, Guanghui

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PAKISTAN is estimated to have around 297bn tonnes of marble and granite reserves, mainly in the remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, Balochistan and rural Sindh.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1621736

Onyx, a rare marble, is abundant in the Chagai district of Balochistan; its dark green variety is found in five countries only. Its reserves are estimated at 34m cubic metres.

Over 1,400 quarries and 3,000 processing units are operational in the country, employing about 30,000 workers.

Despite many constraints faced by the industry, the sharp increase in its exports during the last decade shows its high potential for earning foreign exchange
Pakistani dimension stones have immense decorative and functional value and exotic appearances.

Riaz Haq said...

#Drought Hits #US Southwest & #NewMexico’s Canals Run Dry. Acequias — pronounced ah-SEH-kee-ahs — borrow their name from the #Arabic term for #water conduit, al-sāqiya, celebrated in song, books and verse, and they have endured in the state for centuries. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/13/us/acequias-drought-new-mexico-southwest.html?smid=tw-share

Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the remote village of Ledoux has for more than a century relied on a network of irrigation ditches to water its crops. The outpost’s acequias, as New Mexico’s fabled canals are known, are replenished annually by snowmelt and rains. But with the Southwest locked in an unrelenting drought, they have begun to run dry.

“I never thought I’d witness such a crash in our water sources,” said Harold Trujillo, 71, a farmer in Ledoux who has seen his production of hay collapse to about 300 bales a year from 6,000. “I look at the mountains around us and ask: ‘Where’s the snow? Where are the rains?’”

Acequias — pronounced ah-SEH-kee-ahs — borrow their name from the Arabic term for water conduit, al-sāqiya. They are celebrated in song, books and verse, and they have endured in the state for centuries. Spanish colonists in New Mexico began digging the canals in the 1600s, building on water harvesting techniques honed by the Pueblo Indians.

Even then, the acequia reflected the blending of cultural traditions. Muslims introduced acequias in Spain after invading the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century, using gravity to manage irrigation flows. Acequias eventually spread around the Spanish-speaking world.

Making subsistence farming feasible in arid lands, New Mexico’s communally managed acequias persisted through uprisings, epidemics and wars of territorial conquest, preserving a form of small-scale democratic governance that took root before the United States existed as a country.

But in a sign of how climate change has begun to upend farming traditions across the Southwest, the megadrought afflicting New Mexico and neighboring states may amount to the acequias’ biggest challenge yet.

The difficulties confronting farmers in Ledoux — pronounced locally as Leh-DOOKS — exemplify those also facing hundreds of acequias around New Mexico, and a smaller number in southern Colorado and Texas.

Climate researchers say that the water shortages vexing the acequias are not surprising after years of warming temperatures, and that the depleted reservoirs and the spread of colossal wildfires around the West are a clear indication of the crisis.

Riaz Haq said...

Cause for Celebration: Coal-Fired Plant Provides #Power, #Economic Boost to #Pakistan. The plant uses Thar coal with state-of-the-art #environmental control systems, including electrostatic precipitator. #Sindh #Thar #technology. #electricity https://www.powermag.com/cause-for-celebration-plant-provides-power-economic-boost-to-pakistan/#.YQf2yVQQc3g.twitter

The Engro Powergen Thar Ltd. power station is transforming a desert region that has long sought reliable electricity to support its economy, create jobs, utilize an abundant natural resource, and help solve an energy crisis.

The importance of a coal-fired power plant to an entire region, and to a country, was highlighted in Pakistan earlier this year. It’s not often that government officials and the general public come together to celebrate an energy project, but in this case, there was plenty of excitement about how the Engro Powergen Thar Ltd. (EPTL) facility is enabling Pakistan to take advantage of its natural resources, and provide economic opportunities and support for a harsh desert region considered a difficult place to live.

The EPTL plant utilizes Thar coal—which the country has in abundance in the Tharparkar region—to generate electricity. Officials say it will make Pakistan, a country that has faced electricity shortfalls for years, more energy secure, and provide a viable solution to an ongoing energy crisis.

The realization that the country’s reserves of lignite coal can be used in a domestic power plant prompted a three-day festival in March, and has led Pakistani officials to call the EPTL facility transformational for the country’s future. It’s among the many reasons POWER has chosen EPTL as a Top Plant in the coal-fired category.

“The proof of concept that electricity can be produced from Thar coal has been demonstrated successfully by EPTL, [and] it is the first plant to utilize this lignite coal for production of electricity,” said Syed Manzoor Hussain Zaidi, CEO of EPTL.

State-of-the-Art Equipment
The EPTL plant, located about 280 miles southeast of Karachi in the Sindh province of Pakistan, is what Pakistani officials call a first-of-its-kind mine mouth power plant, using indigenous Thar coal—the first power generation facility to do so. It is equipped with two 330-MW circulating fluidized bed boilers, along with an innovative three (steam-cooled) cyclones arrangement, with once reheat, two cylinders, two flow exhausting, single-axial and condensing steam turbine generators. The plant has what operators consider state-of-the-art environmental control systems, including electrostatic precipitator technology, which helps the plant meet the International Finance Corp.’s (IFC’s)—a subsidiary of World Bank—emissions guidelines.

The plant’s equipment and other facilities have been designed to function safely and smoothly in a harsh desert environment—for example, ambient temperatures as high as 50C (122F), with excessive dust. The plant also has a laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that the quality of coal being utilized meets the design specifications and safety requirements.

Officials said that advanced control strategies such as a robust distributed control system (DCS) have been implemented to ensure EPTL is a fully automated plant. Despite the variable coal quality from the mine, which is a big challenge for the plant, control loops have been optimized to ensure efficient operation. Officials said that alarm rationalization was recently performed as per the International Society of Automation (ISA) 18.2 standard; after which, the recurring alarms were reduced by 99% and alarms per operator per hour are less than 12.

Riaz Haq said...

Remarkable development with miraculous achievement and boon for Thar

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/03/15/remarkable-development-with-miraculous-achievement-and-boon-for-thar/

It is meritorious to mention that Sindh Government has taken praiseworthy and remarkable initiatives to facilitate and encourage the investment and industrialisation in the Tharparkar district with vivid infrastructural development such as a widespread network of well-constructed roads, construction of the 42 small dams, water carrier pipelines, dam for the reservoir of rainwater in Tharparkar district, establishment of the Mai Bhakhtawar airport, Establishment of NED University Campus, schools by Engro with the collaboration of TCF and the start of the state of the art institutions of heart diseases the institute of Cardiovascular Diseases( NICVD) and several other projects.

The Sindh government has made a remarkable initiative on constructing 42 small dams in Thar. The construction of 23 dams has successfully completed and inaugurated by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and he showed an eager interest in the completion of the remaining 11 small dams will be completed by 2022. The initiative of the construction of small dams will not only provide fresh drinking water to 87 villages but will irrigate 85000 acres of land. At present constructed 23 dams have immensely contributed to the irrigation of the hundred acres of land with bumper crops of wheat, Onions, Garlic, Oats, Gawaar, and other crops which is indeed a miraculous achievement of the Sindh government for the prosperity of the People that was the vision of Mohtrama Shaheed Banzeer Bhutto and Bilawal Bhutto which coming to happen as an undeniable reality.

Riaz Haq said...

Thar Energy’s 330MW Thar Coal-based project nears completion under CPEC
The plant will supply electricity to the national grid

https://www.samaa.tv/news/pakistan/2021/10/thar-energys-330mw-thar-coal-based-project-nears-completion-under-cpec/

In Sindh, the 330-megawatt Thar Energy Limited Power Project Block-II is being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC.

According to an official, the power plant would supply electricity to the national grid under a 30-year power purchase agreement.

According to APP news agency, the power plant is a 330MW mine-mouth lignite-fired power project being built by Thar Energy, which is owned by the Hub Power Company or Hubco, China Machinery Engineering Corporation or CMEC and Fauji Fertilizer Company or FFC.

Similarly, two more coal-fired power plants, Engro Thar Block II power plant and Thal Nova, are also being developed in Thar Block II.

Engro’s Thar Block II power plant is a coal-fired power station in Sindh’s Tharparkar district. It was Pakistan’s first power plant to use the indigenous coal reserves of Thar.

The 660MW power plant, which was part of CPEC, was developed by Engro Powergen Thar or EPTL, a joint venture of Engro Powergen or EPL, CMEC, Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills. Construction on the Engro Thar Block II power plant commenced in April 2016. Trial operations at the plant began in July 2018 while commercial operations began in July 2019.

The coal-fired power plant is located five kilometres away from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields. It consists of two 330MW units, which integrated circulating fluidised bed or CFB boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators. CFB is an ideal option for the low-calorific-value Thar lignite coal.

It helped to regulate the plant’s environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides. The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators featured a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.

The power plant is also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company or SECMC supplied nearly 3.8 million tons per annum of coal for the coal-fired power plant from a new opencast mine.

The SECMC is a joint venture by the government of Sindh and Engro Powergen. The joint venture was formed for extracting coal available at the seventh biggest coal mine site in the Thar Desert.

The new coal-fired power plant fed electricity to a 500kV double-circuit transmission line of the grid network between Thar and the Hesco grid station in Jamshoro. The estimated cost of the Engro Thar power plant was $995.4 million – funded by a syndicate led by China Development Bank with the support from China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.

The syndicate included Habib Bank, United Bank, Bank Alfalah, National Bank Pakistan, Faysal Bank, Construction Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

ThalNova is a similar 330MW power plant being developed in the same block. The financial closing for the power plant was achieved in September 2020 and the commercial operations are scheduled to begin in 2022.

Riaz Haq said...

From Pakistan to Somalia to Cameroon, Action Against Hunger has established Farmer Field Schools. Our agriculture experts teach farmers climate-smart growing techniques, introduce nutritious, resilient crops, and provide practice plots for people to test what they’ve learned. When participants are ready, they take supplies and new skills home to their own land.


https://reliefweb.int/report/world/10-ways-were-helping-families-tackle-climate-hunger-crisis
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In Pakistan, for example, we’re introducing crops like sugar beets, which can help reduce saline levels in soil – a consequence of drought and rising tides. Around the world, our teams are also working with farmers to teach practices that encourage more fertile fields, such as composting.

GROWING CROPS WITH LESS WATER

Even when rainfall is limited, it’s possible for gardens to flourish and provide enough yield to feed families and livestock. By teaching innovative growing techniques – including hydroponics and vertical gardens – our teams are helping farmers grow crops with less water.

ESTABLISHING LOCALLY-LED FARMER COOPERATIVES

Tackling climate change is a team effort. To foster collaboration and learning, Action Against Hunger creates and supports farmers’ cooperatives. Some of these groups come together to collectively rent land for farming, while others share lessons learned with each other. In Uganda, many farmers’ groups are negotiating fair prices for supplies and creating local demand for nutritious crops like mushrooms.

HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SUN

During a drought or a heatwave, the sun beats down on rural communities. So, with the help of solar power, we’re putting that sunshine to good use. Now, across many of the countries where we work, the sun helps to fuel everything from water pumps to portable irrigation systems.

OPTIMIZING LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Around the world, Action Against Hunger uses agroecological principles to sustainably improve food security in vulnerable communities. What exactly does that mean? Agroecology is an environmentally-friendly approach that helps people make the most of their local natural resources – including land, water, soil, and seeds - to grow nutritious foods, diversify their crops, and build up markets.

PROVIDING A HELPING HAND IN TOUGH TIMES

Our programs aim to help communities to build their resilience to shocks – but, sometimes, a shock is too severe or sudden for people to cope. That’s why our teams also provide cash transfers in emergencies. For a family displaced by floods, money is often the fastest and most flexible way to help them find food, a place to stay, medicine, and other basic things they need to survive.

MAKING FOOD LAST THROUGH LEAN SEASONS

Each year, many rural communities prepare to face the “hunger season,” or the period between harvests when food supplies run out. Climate change has exacerbated hunger seasons: prolonged droughts and other severe shocks have made hunger seasons longer and more unpredictable. To support families, we’re helping them make their crops last longer with drying and storage tools.

Riaz Haq said...

Improving milk production and its marketing in rural Sindh, Pakistan

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/Improving-milk-production-and-its-marketing-in-rural-Sindh-Pakistan--37657218/

SAGP (World Bank funded Sindh Agricultural Growth Project) established 484 livestock management training departments for its beneficiaries, which included both farmers and members of government institutions in charge of trainings, and the project rehabilitated 121 veterinary units.

To date, approximately 5753 farmers have benefited from livestock management trainings. The 203 Livestock Department staff equipped to deliver trainings will continue to provide extension services during field visits for vaccination and treatments to villages. Moreover, over 100 farmers and the staff of the Livestock Department were trained to implement artificial insemination to contribute to the breed improvement program, and utrasound training was offered to 76 beneficiaries. 18 beneficiaries beneficiaries have had the opportunity to visit state-of-the-art livestock training centers overseas: to Zimbabwe to observe Holistic Land and Livestock Management design and implementation; to Turkey to learn Dairy Farming practices, Dairy Machinery preparation factories; camel farming in the UAE; and Kenya's established dairy value chain.

SAGP has helped in rescuing the unique traits of the two main breeds of the cows found in Tharparkar district. One is 'Thari' and the other is 'Concrej.' Regarding this matter, Dr. Ashok Kumar said, "Tharkparkar cattle is losing its original traits by crossing with other breeds. Now we have promoted it through Artificial Insemination."

An Artificial Insemination Training Center at Tandojam is making a difference in restoring the original traits of Sindh's native breeds. Dr. Abdullah Sethar, deputy director, said, "This Artificial Insemination Center was developed in August 2019. We started offering Artificial Insemination training here. We have already trained 762 families, veterinarians, paramedics, and breeders in this center."

Trainings have also helped improved milk production. Previously, cows produced around 4.1 liters of milk and buffaloes produced 5.2 liters. By following the best practices learnt during various trainings, farmers increased the production of milk to 5.1 and 6.9 liters, respectively.

Beneficiary Abdul Aleem Soomro commented on how adopting new techniques resulted in a high milk yield. He said, "Our local cows had low milk yield. A practical demonstration was given to us and we changed our ways of breeding livestock. This has already started creating noticeable results."

Creating more jobs

The project not only strengthened milk production and its supply chain in the Rural Sindh, but also benefitted people in other ways, by creating jobs in other sectors.

5753 MPG members were able to upgrade their skills through three trainings. Additionally, 40 milk sell points were established by MPG members, with each outlet staffed by three farmers from the center's local village. Each milk outlet has provided employment opportunities to the local village, as 149 milk technicians are employed to collect and dispatch milk across these MPG collection centers.

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC project keeps children fed


https://tribune.com.pk/story/2343158/cpec-project-keeps-children-fed

Hundreds of children belonging to lessprivileged families in the scenic Kaghan Valley are being fed on a daily basis at the under-construction Suki Kinari hydropower project along the Kunhar River.

The Suki Kinari dam project, one of the key initiatives of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is estimated to generate 884 megawatts of electricity, which will benefit 13 million households.

According to Mari Petroleum, around 6,000 locals are already involved in the construction work, and once complete, it will create hundreds of more jobs. It is a unique project for which a 30km long tunnel will be dug through the mountains and from where the water will be diverted to the power turbines with the help of pipes.

Launched in 2017, 83% of the work of Suki Kanari Energy Project has been completed. It is hoped that this project will be added to the national grid next year, increasing Pakistan's hydropower reserves by nine percent.

Riaz Haq said...

Seeing the rural Sindh through the lens of ‘Guddu Pakistani’
His biggest accomplishment is to show the Sindh that needs to be seen and known

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/seeing-the-rural-sindh-through-the-lens-of-guddu-pakistani-1.86725862

Islamabad: Brimming with energy and colours, the landscape, culture and people of rural Sindh fascinate in a way that few places do.

Sindh feels like seeing life through a kaleidoscope when viewed from the lens of duEmmanuel Gud – the photographer who captures the heart and soul of the region, showing to the world that life in rural Sindh is not as dull and dusty as generally assumed.

“My photographs are changing the perception of Sindh, showing the vivacious culture, simple people and stunning architecture of my beautiful home region,” said Emmanuel Guddu in an interview with Gulf News. The 42-year-old freelance photographer hails from Sindh’s Mirpur Khas city, best known for its delicious mangoes.

Emmanuel, who is famously known as ‘Guddu Pakistani’ on social media, says that his biggest accomplishment is to show the Sindh that needs to be seen and known. “I can think of no greater honour nor privilege than knowing that I have lived a life, creating images, sharing the stories and struggles of the incredible people of Sindh, the culture of the beautiful land I call home,” he shared during the interview.

The photos sometimes are surprising not just for foreigners and residents of other regions of Pakistan but even the people of Sindh themselves as not many locals travel outside their hometowns, he says. Emmanuel calls himself the ‘Awara (wandering) photographer’. “Photographers are passionate people who are willing to go to any length to share their passion with people,” he believes.


What inspired him?
Born as a Catholic Christian, he belongs to the Kachhi Kolhi Hindu community in Sindh. He found his inspiration early from National Geographic magazines in which the pictures of the cultural and historic sites and vibrant communities moved him. “Those photos inspired me and I decided I will also show to the world the unique culture of my land.”

Personal life and photography career
Emmanuel, who is the eldest among his siblings, wasn’t able to continue education after 10th grade as he was expected to start working to support his family. Remembering the tough days, he shared that his father worked at the community church and his mother as a seamstress, struggling to put food on the table and raise the family. Later, the family sent Emmanuel to Lahore to become a priest at a church where his maternal uncle served as the priest. But that is not where he was meant to be.

Emmanuel’s professional photography career started in 2010 when he went to capture the impact of the 2010 floods, the worst in Pakistan’s history that submerged entire towns. “Some of the portraits of flood survivors in Sindh and the enormity of the floodwater that I captured went viral,” he shared. It was then that Emmanuel knew he had found something he wanted to passionately pursue: photography.

Stories behind the photographs
His brilliant and breathtaking photographs reveal that Pakistan’s province of Sindh is home to fascinating architecture and shrines, majestic deserts and lakes, rural tattooed women, exquisite pottery and handicrafts, mud and straw houses, unique traditional food and beautiful birds.

In one photograph taken in Tharparkar, a woman in her traditional, vivid red dress, is seen feeding her brilliant blue peacock. The image is among his favourite. “This photo captures the pure human-animal relation. This bond is strong in Sindh.”

Many of his pictures capture the rural women of Sindh, working in the farms and at their homes, in their bright traditional dresses, faces hidden behind the veils and wearing white bangles from wrist to the entire length of their arm. “Our women have tattoos on their faces, necks, hands and even on foot,” he shared. It is this unique rural culture and heritage that he aims to show through his photographs and videos.

Riaz Haq said...

Nai Gaj Dam is an embankment dam currently under construction on the Gaj River in the gorge area at the edge of Kirthar Mountains range at about 65 kilometres (40 mi) north-west of Dadu city in Dadu District, Sindh Province of Pakistan. When complete, its power station will have a 4.2 MW installed capacity. Consultant supervision by Techno Consult International (TCI) from Karachi, Pakistan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nai_Gaj_Dam

Construction of the dam started in May 2012. Initially planned to be completed in 3 years, the project has been heavily delayed, increasing its cost from an initial estimate of Rs17 Billon to a revised Rs 47.7 Billion in 2019, with a completion now expected in mid-2021. Around 51% of the construction work was completed as of 2018.

It is estimated that water will be supplied from Nai Gaj Dam to 28800 acres land in tehsil Johi and 300000 acres in other areas of Dadu District. Moreover, Nai Gaj Dam will supply 50 cusecs of water to the Lake Manchar for decreasing its pollution. Furthermore, the water will also be supplied from the dam to Kachho desert and area of Kohistan in Dadu District. PM Imran Khan vowed to complete the project and expressed concern over ineptitude of sindh

Riaz Haq said...

For a greener and richer Gwadar: B&R Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest Center

http://en.ce.cn/Insight/202206/15/t20220615_37760375.shtml

GWADAR, Jun. 15 (Gwadar Pro) – “In the eyes of outsiders, high temperature and scorching sun may be a disadvantage of Gwadar, but in our view, the light and heat conditions here are a natural advantage for the development of agriculture and non-wood forest”, noted Zhang Saiyang, vice director of the Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest and doctoral candidate of Central South University of forestry and technology, in an exclusive interview with Gwadar Pro.

The Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest was jointly initiated and established by Central South University of forestry and technology, China Overseas Ports Holdings Co., Ltd. and Yulin Holdings Co., Ltd. for Gwadar ecological construction and industrial development. Since 2018, it has systematically improved the local soil conditions in Gwadar. Zhang told Gwadar Pro that the Chinese team combined the organic fertilizer collected from local sheep farm and leaves and other humus to mix with local soil in a certain proportion to improve the fertility and pH of the local soil. Besides, the local soil conditions were greatly improved by the team members planting legumes to use the nitrogen fixation of legume rhizobia.

“In addition to the soil, moisture is our long-term focus as well. With arid climate here, the irrigation method appears to be particularly important,” Zhang said, “after enhancing the soil water retention capacity through soil improvement, we mainly use a combination of sprinkling irrigation and drip irrigation to maximize water conservation. Not to mention that our selected varieties are drought tolerant crop with very developed root systems.”

By now, nearly 100,000 seedlings such as bananas, dates, orchid and figs have been cultivated here. Among them, bananas (Musa nana) are selected local varieties that can adapt to drought and high temperature and produce a large amount of fruit. In May, the center successfully held the first non-wood forest products-banana harvest festival in Gwadar Port. “Our production of bananas has attracted the attention of local farmers, who hope to buy banana seedlings to grow on their own land,” Zhang mentioned.

Moreover, figs are also a key economic crop here. Hundreds of fig seedlings have already produced a lot of fruit in just one month. More than 10 hours of sufficient sunlight per day and the temperature difference between day and night in the Gwadar region allow figs, a drought-tolerant and light-loving plant, to accumulate more sugar. According to the promotion plan, the fresh and dried figs launched by the center will have a place in the market.

“In addition to bananas and figs, which are familiar to Chinese people, the endemic crops of Pakistan, including Sesbania grandiflora and Ziziphus spina-christi, can also give full play to their economic value through our breeding techniques,” Zhang listed the local valuable economic crops one by one, “the leguminous plant Sesbania grandiflora is resistant to high temperature and drought, and has a large amount of fruit. It is a very good tree species for ecological greening and economic forest. Its fruit, as a woody vegetable, has been widely promoted by us in Gwadar, and then sold in the market. The local unique Ziziphus spina-christi is also drought-tolerant and light-loving, which can bear fruit several times a year. The seedling breeding, fresh fruit sales and juice processing of it have also been put on the agenda.”

As for the future planning, Zhang Saiyang mentioned that the center has set up “Gwadar Classroom” to train local workers. Opened in March this year, it has trained the first batch of modern agricultural skilled workers in the local area, laying a solid foundation for the local development of agriculture and non-wood forest industry, as well as promoting farmers’ employment and using their own land to start businesses.

Riaz Haq said...

Tharparkar district — par kar means to cross over — is entirely desert, and belongs to a larger arid zone known as the Thar Desert that extends into India. In fact, only 15 percent of the Thar Desert is part of Pakistan.

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/longform/2022/6/19/the-mystifying-rise-of-suicide-in-pakistans-thar-desert

For centuries, the region had a life of its own, separate from the rest of the subcontinent and contingent on caste hierarchies and patterns of rainfall. For nearly a century, seasonal migration was the warp and weft of desert life: Thari people, traditionally farmers and herders, cultivated bajra (millet) during the rainy season, a hardy small-grained cereal integral to the local diet since prehistoric times. After the summer harvest, with the onset of the dry season, most Tharis — especially "lower-caste" Bheel, Kohli, and Meghwar communities — would migrate to the irrigated plains of Sindh to harvest wheat. Up until the 1970s, Tharis scarcely dealt in cash. For their labour in the wheat fields, they were provided protection by landlords, grazing grounds for livestock, and allowed to collect wheat stubble to feed animals when they returned home to await the summer rains.

This ebb and flow of life in Tharparkar was recorded by the social researcher Arif Hasan in 1987 but, even at the time of writing, he noted that this way of life was dissipating. Tharparkar has historically been a Hindu-majority region, but the creation of Pakistan and subsequent wars with India upended old religious and caste hierarchies.

The introduction of more lucrative “cash” crops such as sugarcane clashed with the longstanding patterns of migration. When drought struck in the 1980s, NGOs and social workers entered the fray and with them paved roads, market goods and the cash economy. Still, for the rest of Pakistan, Thar was largely seen as a brown blip on the national map, a faraway land of camels, exotic clothes, and malnourished babies. Until, that is, the early 2010s, when the state decided to begin digging up the vast reserves of lignite coal underneath the desert.

Suddenly, in the national imagination, the desert morphed from deadwood to golden goose. Banks, mobile shops and petrol stations sprouted up. The network of roads became wider and denser.

Professionals from other parts of Pakistan, even from China, moved in for coal-related employment. Guesthouses sprung up along the new roads, designed to look like traditional Thar housing: round white huts with peaked roofs made of thatch, known as chaunras. Long gone were the days of bajre ki roti and lassi — you can now order “Chinese biryani” at local restaurants.

As for Mithi, according to Hasan, it grew by 200 percent in just five years.

Visiting in 2017, he noted that steel for reinforced concrete construction was in short supply and because of deforestation, local timber was no longer available. Many Tharis migrated to Mithi and other urban centres because their ancestral lands were acquired by the state for its various development projects. Some moved to avail new opportunities, and others because, as the climate grew more erratic, the old agrarian way of life became increasingly untenable. Coal exploitation will only serve to exacerbate this last trend, observers have pointed out. Since 2014, when the first coal power project was inaugurated, people have protested against land acquisition, neo-colonisation, increased securitisation, water security, and ecological disruption.

Thar badlega Pakistan. For now, the first part of the state’s battle cry has come to pass. Thar will transform.

Riaz Haq said...

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/longform/2022/6/19/the-mystifying-rise-of-suicide-in-pakistans-thar-desert


Sonia was 17 when she took her own life, soon after sitting for her secondary school exams. She was bright and studious and loved poetry. She would painstakingly copy out her favourite Sindhi passages, tracing verses on lined paper torn from school notebooks. Those pages, rendered in a neat schoolgirlish hand, were pinned up on a wall in the family room. Next to them were letters that her sisters Geeta and Narmala, one older and one younger, wrote to her after her death.

There was a dust storm in Mithi the day I visited. Great gusts of wind ruffled the tops of thatched huts. Sonia’s father, a lanky man in a white kameez turned beige by the billowing sand, is quiet but affable. It happened in September 2021. The clock struck one, two, then three in the morning. The girls finished watching a movie on their brother’s mobile phone and went to bed. Fifteen minutes later, says the girls' father, he happened to wake up and found Sonia dead. She had hanged herself in one of the chaunras in the compound.

“We’re not the sort of family that hides things from each other,” he said, still grasping for an explanation.

Seventy percent of Tharis who died by suicide in 2020 were under the age of 30, according to data from the Sindh Mental Health Authority. More than half of those were teenagers. Bucking global patterns, more women and girls in the district died by suicide and, while Hindus constitute roughly 43 percent of its population, they accounted for 63 percent of deaths. Police data is slightly different but exhibits similar trends. The numbers aren’t disaggregated by caste, but local accounts indicate so-called "lower-caste" Hindus make up many of the deaths.

Sonia’s family are Meghwars, a caste historically associated with leather tanning. In the past half-century, as societal roles contingent on caste became less rigid in Tharparkar, Meghwars attained education at higher rates than other caste groups — so much so that by the early 2000s, according to Hasan, they constituted the majority of professionals in the district. Still, young Meghwars can’t fully shake off the burden of being Hindu and "lower-caste" — a double whammy in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

“The media makes it seem there are opportunities in Thar now, but it’s complicated,” said Akash, a 26-year-old Meghwar activist. “You have all these unemployed young people running around with degrees in electrical engineering, mining, petroleum and gas.” But even amid the ongoing bonanza of resource exploitation in Thar, most skilled and semi-skilled jobs appear to have been given to outsiders, leaving locals to become security guards, construction workers, and drivers. There is little else for them to do.

A few hundred metres up the dune from Sonia’s house lived Sajan, who also died by suicide. He was 17, like Sonia, and the eldest son in his family. For four years, since his father’s death, he worked at a garment factory in Karachi. Last August, he took leave from work and came to Mithi for a few days. On the fourth day, he announced his departure. He changed into a white cotton shalwar kameez, shaved his beard, combed his hair and bid farewell to everyone. Half an hour later, he was dead by the water pump.

Unlike Sonia’s father, who is quietly contemplative, Sajan’s mother’s grief has hardened into anger. “He’s blackened his father’s grave,” she said. “I have tensions too, but if I were to kill myself, I’d just burden the people I leave behind. All he’s left behind are his photos — what do we do with those, just look at them?”

Riaz Haq said...

A friendly desert - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

Opinion by Rajesh Kumar Goyal
Assistant Commissioner Karachi

https://www.dawn.com/news/1696453

THARPARKAR has always been portrayed as an underprivileged area with low socioeconomic indicators. Drought, water crisis, infant mortality, suicide cases, grievances of the locals against Thar coal, Gorano dam issues, displacement of indigenous people on account of industrialisation, lack of health and educational facilities, and much more like these have made headlines in national and international media from time to time.

My own experience, however, has been quite different and surprising since the day I was posted in Mithi. To me, Thar is a beautiful place.

The day I stepped in Mithi, I was fasci-nated and surprised to see such a neat and clean city with spacious roads, glittering streetlights, decent infrastructure and the amazing night-time view of Mithi city from Gadi Bhit.

The more I explored Mithi, the more I found it to be a beautiful, unique and amazing city. My prior impression, formed on the basis of media reports, stood shattered. It is the shattering of such illusions that has compelled me to share my personal experience of the area and its lovely and loving people.

The idea is to portray the brighter side of Tharparkar, which rarely gets the attention that it deserves. Tharparkar is not just a desert; it is a vegetative desert, meaning a friendly desert. Thari people, being extremely resilient, live in the lap of nature, eat natural, organic food, walk miles on foot, sleep early, wake up early and enjoy a satisfied and fulfilled life away from everything that defines urban life.

On the development side, Tharparkar is undergoing serious transformation. Thar coal has contributed a lot to its development, though there is still a long way to go. Its beautiful wide network of roads, comfortable rest houses, government as well as private health facilities, educational centres make it a far better district than many others across Sindh.

Its historical sites, such as Gori Temple, Bhodisar Mosque, Jain Temple, Karoonjhar Hills, Gadi Bhit, and, above all, its scenic natural beauty during the monsoon attract a large number of tourists from all over Pakistan who visit to explore Thar and its rich culture.

Mithi, the headquarters of Tharparkar, is an embodiment of tolerance, interfaith harmony and human compassion. The loving people of Mithi live together in peace and harmony regardless of their religious creed. All religious festivals are celebrated by both Muslim and Hindu communities.

Not visiting Tharparkar, especially during the monsoon when it is in full bloom, is like depriving oneself of a chance to enjoy the rich Thari culture, some real fun, and peace and relaxation that this beautiful place offers. Try it this monsoon!

Riaz Haq said...

Interview: At the root of Pakistan’s water crisis is mismanagement of resources
Development sector professional Umer Karim talks about the energy and water crisis looming over the country.
Farahnaz Zahidi

https://scroll.in/article/1026969/interview-at-the-root-of-pakistans-water-crisis-is-mismanagement-of-resources


More than 80% of the population in Pakistan faces severe water scarcity. Without change, this is projected to increase. With the water crisis looming over the country, Umer Karim, a development sector professional, sat down with The Third Pole.

Karim has been working in the field of irrigation and water management for more than 20 years and is a consultant with public and private sector organisations, as well as a regular guest speaker and media commentator.

Can you explain the debate around dams in Pakistan?
In 2010, all the provinces had a consensus on the Diamer Bhasha dam [a dam being built in northwest Pakistan, which will be one of the highest in the world when finished]. However, now the project is taking a lot of flak. It is difficult to understand why they signed the agreement if it is now believed that we will suffer and dry up as a result.

Some people propose that small dams should be built in provinces. Please invite them to visit Chotiari reservoir, a small dam built on the Nara Canal in Sindh in 1996. No doubt it is very helpful and caters to the needs of downstream areas of Umerkot and Tharparkar whenever there is a shortage of water.

But people living near the banks of this dam are badly affected by waterlogging, salinity and land degradation. Small dams may be valuable in sustaining communities, but they need proper operation and maintenance plus remedial measures for waterlogging and seepage.

Usually, dams are built in areas where issues of waterlogging and salinity are expected to have the least impact. Tarbela dam, for example, recharges the area’s water tables and keeps them fresh.

Among people interested in the environmental pros and cons of hydropower, there are plenty of discussions, but technical or scientific research or data is not included. The narrative around hydros, therefore, remains superficial.

This year, we did not have water [stored in] dams. Tarbela was emptied for repair work on its tunnels during the dry – winter – period, and Mangla had to provide support for those areas in Pakistan’s upper reaches. We are essentially on a direct natural flow of the river, which remained lower than average due to low temperatures at glaciers, and this created multiple problems, especially for lower riparian areas.

Riaz Haq said...

#Monsoon rains in #Tharparkar in #Sindh, #Pakistan have created vast green pastures to help the local #economy that depends on livestock. Water ponds in the desert are filled to capacity, bringing a sigh a relief for the #drought-stricken population https://www.brecorder.com/news/40188619/2nd-half-of-monsoon-season-likely-to-produce-less-rainfall

The second half of the monsoon season is likely to fetch less rains compared with the first half, said sources from Pakistan Meteorological Department.

The monsoon season starts from early July and continues until 15th of September in Pakistan every year. The PMD sources said about five to six hundred times more rains have been witnessed during the last 26 days, and there was virtually everyday rain in the country since July.

They said the ongoing spell of heavy rains is likely to continue until the first week of August, followed by a long interval in rains any further. However, they added in the same breath, the actual forecast would be issued by early August.

It may be noted that the areas within the country known for less rains have received heavy spells during the current monsoon season. Right from the South of Punjab to the upper Sindh, there was heavy rain for almost the whole of the month.

The PMD sources said heavy rains have wreaked havoc with the date orchards in Sindh as the crop was at the ripening stage and the farmers found themselves into a troublesome situation so far storage of the crop is concerned.

Traditionally, they said, the province of Sindh used to receive monsoon rains during the later part of the season, which got reversed this year and thus causing damage to the date crop. They said farmers in Sindh were busy in drying up dates nowadays before dispatching them to market.

However, rains are proved healthier to the rest of the seasonal crops including cotton, maize, rice, and sugarcane in the country. Also, they said sufficient rains in Tharparkar have led to mushroom growth of green pastures in the area, beneficial to the local economy. Besides, the water ponds are covered up to their storage capacity in the deserted areas, brining a sigh a relief to the local population.

According to the sources, the cotton crop has also faced less damage due to the fact that most of the plants were yet at the maturity stage. Chances of damage were high in case rains approach to the cotton growing areas in the second half of the season.

However, they feared various leaf relating diseases due to the high level of moisture in the air ahead. Same is true for the rice crop that was facing huge damage over the past few years due to traditional heavy rains during the second half of the monsoon season. So far as Balochistan is concerned, the sources said small dams have been overflowed due to heavy downpours, causing damage to the localities due to flashfloods.

Riaz Haq said...

MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703753/third-spell-of-rain-lashes-lower-sindh-region


HYDERABAD: The new spell of rainfall forecasted to begin for the day began lashing lower Sindh late on Saturday night and continued for quite some time in Tharparkar, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Badin, Thatta, Tando Mohammad Khan, Matiari and Tando Allahyar districts. Luckily, no loss of life was reported from any part of the province.

Rain started at around 9pm and continued for over 45 minutes in Hyderabad, Matiari and Tando Allahyar district, hub of sugar cane production in Sindh, where it would benefit cane crop but it might prove detrimental to cotton that was sensitive to rain.

Rain in the catchment area of Darawat Dam in Jamshoro district increased the dam’s level by 0.5 meter, raising it from 112.70 meter to 112.75 meter. The dam had achieved its maximum storage level due to heavy rainfall when its spillways started operating for the first time since the reservoirs’ completion a few days back.

12mm of rainfall was recorded in Hyderabad city’s meteorological office and 9mm at the airport office. After 45 minutes of rain another spell visited the city at around 12am which continued or around 20 minutes. Since July 14 to 25, a total of 308mm of rain had been recorded at Met city office and 246mm from July 4 to 25 at Met airport office.

Meanwhile, Sukkur barrage reached medium flood level at 6pm on Aug 6 with downstream discharge at 350,045 cusecs and upstream discharge at 381,015 cusecs. On Aug 7, Sukkur barrage downstream discharge remained 350,080 cusecs and upstream at 384,560 cusecs, according to officials.

Guddu barrage was now having low flood with 370,836 cusecs at its upstream and 343,990 cusecs discharge at 6pm on Saturday. Kotri barrage was having normal flows with its upstream discharge recorded at 196,855 cusecs and downstream at 187,780 cusecs at 6pm the same day. Flows have lately dropped in the river system at all barrages in Punjab.

Growers’ bodies are demanding waiver in recovery of taxes and loans from farmers in rain-hit areas in the province where widespread damage to crops was reported during the first spell of rain in July when 85pc date crop in Khairpur was washed away.

MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.

The rainfall in hilly areas of Nagarparkar was recorded at 45mm. It had started raining in Mithi, Chhachhro, Islamot, Dahli talukas late on Thursday night and continued on Friday.

The weather websites including Pakistan Meteorological Department forecast more intermittent heavy rainfall in Tharparkar and other parts of the province till Aug 15.

Riaz Haq said...

Social welfare programs are a critical and challenging subject for developing countries such as Pakistan. Constrained by limited funds, reach and effective management, the Government is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to deciding where and how to deploy its resources, especially in times of crisis.

In these scenarios, individual and corporate philanthropy takes on particular importance. Pakistan may not be a wealthy country, but its people are rich at heart. In an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review, it was postulated that Pakistani’s contribute more than one percent of the annual GDP to charity, pushing it into the ranks of far wealthier countries like the United Kingdom (1.3 percent GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2 percent of GDP). A study conducted by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy shows that around 98 percent of Pakistanis give in some form or another, around PKR 240 billion (more than $2 billion) annually to charity.

https://dailynewspk.com/csr-how-organisations-should-respond-to-covid-19-with-hasan-saeed-akbar-js-bank/

Riaz Haq said...

Rain in Thar means food and water for all living creatures. The recent monsoon rains have transformed Sindh’s thirsty Thar desert and its sandy land into a lush blanket of wild grass, and the local farmers are ready to cultivate their land.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1704697

Thar is the sixth largest desert in the world and covers 22,000 square kilometres. Over 900 square kilometres of this land is made up of wildlife sanctuaries. As the sun rises over Thar’s dunes, you can hear the tinkling of small and large bells around the necks of the cows, goats and sheep. Peacocks flutter their mesmerising feathers and wild birds chirp in the cool breeze.

The monsoon brings abundant water not only for livestock but also for the different inhabitants of the region, including night owls, eagles, falcons, rabbits, reptiles, snakes, lizards, deer and endangered vultures.

Most farmers, including Meghwar, still employ traditional farming methods, using donkeys and camels. Fifty-year-old farmer Manthar Nohari’s land is near Meghwar’s farm, and both believe that donkey or camel-driven farming is much more conducive to soil fertility.

On a breezy July morning, Nohari drops millet and cluster bean seeds on his farm using a tube-like tool, locally known as narri. “It is an environment-friendly method of cultivation,” he says.

“Thar needs maximum rainfall for a bumper production of crop, which includes fodder for cattle. We will be ready to harvest major crops such as bajra [pearl millet], guar [cluster bean], moong [mung bean] and keerray saim [moth bean] in three months.”

But, in just a month, fruits and vegetables such as guar, mushrooms, tinda [apple gourd], watermelons, snap melons and wild melons will already be available in the local markets in Mithi, Chhachhro, Diplo, Chelhar, Islamkot, Nagarparkar, Daheli and other adjacent areas in the neighbouring Umerkot and Mirpurkhas districts.

“Rain has revived natural ponds and wells, and we are also collecting rainwater in tanks and reservoirs,” says Danish Kumar, a young student, from Charhail. “It will last us for three to four months for drinking and domestic use.”

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH

During the dry period, usually from December to May, Tharis survive on the grasses and residue that they have earlier plucked, dried and stored.

“Now that it has rained, fodder is available in abundance,” says Harish Jaipal. “Later in the month, we will collect it to feed the cattle during grass shortage or drought. This way we won’t need to purchase fodder.”

But while this month the climate may have been on their side, that is not always the case. Every year, scores of people are driven to climate migration within Sindh in search of fodder and livelihood because of extreme weather, chronic water shortages and a lack of opportunities.

“Five months ago, I moved with my family and cattle to the Kotri barrage area,” says Allah Danu, a herdsman who owns 30 cows. “But after heavy rains in Thar, we are going back home,” he says. For Allah Danu, who earns a living by selling milk, the desert will always be his home.

But for most of the year it can be an inhospitable home. If it weren’t, many would not move away. Meghwar is happy with the harvest this year. “We will not have to migrate to Kotri barrage [this year] for fodder and growing food,” he says.

Even when nature is on the side of local Tharis, they continue to face other challenges. They are still battling the issue of illegal encroachment of grasslands by powerful landlords, which deplete fodder resources and cause huge losses to those who don’t own land and rely on livestock as a source of income.

Riaz Haq said...

Are critically endangered Great Indian Bustards now migrating to Pakistan?
Environmental activists suggest the birds, one of India’s most critically endangered species, may have migrated due to their shrinking habitat in Desert National Park

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/are-critically-endangered-great-indian-bustards-now-migrating-to-pakistan/article66040102.ece

The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert has given rise to speculation that the endangered birds might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park (DNP). GIBs are critically endangered in Pakistan because of lack of protection and rampant hunting.

An Islamabad-based wildlife photographer, Syed Rizwan Mehboob, released pictures and a video of the GIBs after spotting them in southern Punjab province’s Cholistan game reserve earlier this month. Though Mr. Mehboob did not claim that the GIBs had arrived from India, environmental activists in Jaisalmer district have postulated that the birds might have migrated due to their shrinking habitat.

The conservationist, who had attended the Second International Symposium on Bustards in Peshawar in 1983, said it would be ideal for India and Pakistan to collaborate on conservation of GIBs by developing a protocol through diplomatic channels. Pakistan could be given a demonstrative example of India’s ex situ breeding project for GIBs in the DNP and encouraged to invite experts from UAE. “Cambridge-based BirdLife International can also be invited by the Indian government to take the lead and set examples in Pakistan,” Mr. Vardhan said.


Riaz Haq said...

How India can boost millets cultivation
A region-specific strategy and their introduction in mid-day meals in schools and anganwadis could boost millets cultivation. The need for wholesome nutrition would also be more for children in the very regions that are suited for millet cultivation

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/mid-day-meals-in-schools-anganwadis-could-boost-millets-cultivation-8293267/


The United Nations has, at India’s initiative, declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. This, even as India’s own production of these “nutri cereals” — jowar, bajra and ragi and minor millets such as kodo, kutki, kakun, sanwa, cheena and kuttu — has fallen from 23-24 million to 19-20 million tonnes over the last 4-5 decades. The reason: Millets aren’t the first choice either of consumers or producers. Kneading dough and rolling rotis is much easier with wheat than with millet flour. Wheat has gluten proteins that make the dough more cohesive and elastic. The resultant breads come out soft, unlike with millets that are gluten-free. The public distribution system (PDS) has made rice and wheat accessible even to the rural poor, for whom these were previous aspirational cereals. For farmers, too, millets are orphan crops. With access to irrigation, they will immediately switch to growing wheat and rice that yield 3-4 times more than jowar or bajra.

That said, cultivation of millets deserves a special push, given their nutritional superiority over wheat and rice — whether in terms of amino acid profile or vitamins, minerals and crude fibre content. They are also hardier and drought-resistant crops, which has to do with their short growing season (70-100 days, as against 120-150 days for paddy and wheat) and lower water requirement (350-500 mm versus 600-1,200 mm). The right strategy would be to promote their cultivation in those regions — rain-fed semi-arid and hilly terrains — where they have been well-adapted. One cannot expect farmers in Punjab or coastal Andhra Pradesh to grow bajra and ragi; the yield sacrifices and opportunity costs of diverting irrigated land for these would be far too high. A more realistic approach is to incentivise farmers in western Rajasthan, southern Karnataka or eastern Madhya Pradesh — who are already cultivating bajra, ragi and minor millets — to not shift to rice and wheat. These districts/regions can, in turn, be developed as clusters for particular millets — like Dindori in MP for kodo and kutki.

The same region-specific strategy could be adopted even for boosting consumption. India, according to data for 2021-22, has 14.89 lakh schools with 26.52 crore students. These, plus another 14 lakh pre-school anganwadi centres, constitute a large potential market for millets. The PDS can continue supplying rice and wheat, which are more amenable to nationwide procurement, stocking and distribution. But the schools and anganwadis can serve khichdi, dosas, energy bars and puddings made from locally-sourced millets, along with a daily glass of milk and egg for every child. The need for such wholesome nutrition would be more for children in the very regions that are suited for millet cultivation.