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Saline water to be used to relieve drought cycle pressure in Thar

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed to use saline water for bio-saline agriculture.

It was claimed here on Monday that the drought in Thar will soon become irrelevant “after the successful completion of a pilot project that will utilise underground saline water extracted from mining operations in Thar Block-II for bio-saline agriculture’.

This was stated by Professor Ajmal Khan of the National Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization (ISHU), University of Karachi (UoK), during an international seminar on the sustainable utilisation of saline resources.

The moot was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and ISHU.

UoK Vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Qaiser and SECMC Chief Operating Officer (COO) Abul Fazal Rizvi inked the MoU.

The innovative project in Tharparkar is aimed at reducing dependency on rainwater for growing fodder. Instead, it will utilise salt-resistant grass for non-conventional fodder.

After successful completion, SECMC plans to scale up the project which will greatly benefit the people of Tharparkar through the production of fodder crops irrespective of seasonal limitations brought on by recurring drought cycles.

“Aligned with the institute’s vision, domesticating various halophytes to serve as a source of fodder, forage, bio-fuel, oil seeds, medicinal plants and other possible uses by utilising brackish water in Thar will reduce pressure on the local community,” Dr Ajmal said.

The pilot project will take one year to complete and will be scaled-up in a phase-wise approach over the next few years, according to SEMC COO Abdul Fazal Rizvi.

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