KARACHI - Farming community of Sindh has risen in protest against shortage of irrigation water and termed it a conspiracy to destroy the agrarian economy of the province. Growers bodies have termed shortage of water as mismanagement and miscalculation on the part of Sindh irrigation department. In Larkana, the hometown of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, growers held a demonstration on Friday against acute shortage of water in Ghar Wah and its offshoots and blocked roads at Shaikh Zayed Hospital. Angry farmers raised slogans against the irrigation staff and set up bonfire. They said that paddy nurseries were being damaged while the seedlings transplantation had been delayed, which would severely affect the production and demanded early supply of water to save the paddy crop from destruction. The shortage was not only delaying the paddy transplantation, but also increasing the risk of pest attack on the crop, they said. In newly created district Qambar, growers and activists of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz took out a procession against the shortage of water in Warah branch, Norang wah, Noor wah, Panhwaro, Khan wah and irrigation channels supplying water to lands in Qambar and Warah talukas. Carrying dried-up paddy seedlings, they marched on the main roads of the town and surrounded the office of the DSO irrigation. They also took out a procession and staged a sit-in against shortage of irrigation water in Reti Minor. Reports said that residents of 15 adjoining villages have left their home and hearth due to water shortages. In Khairpur Nathan Shah, district Dadu, farmers also staged protest against what they called artificial shortage of irrigation water in more than 10 distributaries including Kaddan Shakh, Manthar Shakh, Abad Shakh, Nara distry and Peechahu Shakh emanating from Rice Canal. They said that last month also water was released with delay but now when the paddy nurseries were ready, an alleged artificial water shortages was being created, which they termed as conspiracy aimed to destroy the growers of the area. The growers of Madeji also staged demonstration against the shortage of irrigation in their area and blocked Larkana - Sukkur road. They charged that influential landlords were being supplied water at the cost of poor framers. When contacted on telephone for comments on shortage of water President Sindh Abadgar Board Raees Abdul Majeed Nizamani termed the shortage as mismanagement, miscalculation and criminal negligence of provincial irrigation department, resulted in hue and cry by the growers. He said that water situation in the province during current year was abnormal since the start of the year and the irrigation department has failed to tackle the situation. Abdul Majeed Nizamani, a progressive grower, said that water situation remained abnormal during whole year so it was the responsibility of irrigation department to manage water distribution. He said in early Kharif, in the month April, when there was less requirement of water, the irrigation officials released 22,000 cusecs water downstream Sukkur. I telephoned the irrigation officials to keep watch on the water situation because current year was abnormal but they paid no heed the advice, he said. He said according to 1991Water Accord, 1, 36,000 cusecs water was required upstream Guddu on 4th July in accordance with first ten dailies of July. However, two days back only 1, 10,000 cusecs water was available at upstream Guddu, which is far lesser than the needed amount. Responding to a query, he said that rice crops was sown on 20 to 22 lack acres of land in Sindh. He said that Rice Canal was exclusively meant for rice belt and water should have been released in the Canal on 5th of May but this year water was released late in June. Abdul Majeed Nizamani said that despite the intervention of President Asif Ali Zardari, the problem of water is still at risk.