KARACHI – An inquiry committee tasked with investigating the events surrounding a breach in Rohri Canal has held field staff of the Irrigation Department responsible for the breach, it has been learnt.

In its report submitted to Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, the committee held the field staff responsible for the devastation the breach caused in 30 villages in Matyari district.

The minor breach occurred in the canal on May 13 became 200-feet wide when it was not plugged within 24 hours, Chief Engineer Ghulam Mustafa Dahri, Superintending Engineer Abdul Rehman Nizamani and Director Monitoring and Evaluation Abdul Aziz Memon said in their report.  A member on the committee told TheNation that they went to the site and after looking into the matter from all angles reached the conclusion that the engineer and staffers concerned acted with negligence.

In its findings, the committee further said that if the field staff might have reached the site on time, it could have saved 16,000 people from being uprooted and standing crops over vast swathes from destruction.

The irrigation secretary meanwhile suspended Rohri Canal executive engineer Aijaz Qureshi n the recommendation of the committee.

Nevertheless, the Sindh chief secretary has been requested to take urgent measures to dewater the affected areas by Advisor to CM on Relief, Haleem Adil, who is also general secretary of the PML-Q Sindh.  In a letter to the chief secretary, Adil regretted that despite the lapse of many days, no step had been taken by the Irrigation Department for draining out water from the area that could also result in outbreak waterborne diseases.