The Sugar Kingdom of Tando Mohammad Khan

The Sindh Tourism Development Corporation lists only one historical site in Tando Mohammad Khan — a Buddhist stupa known as Sudheran jo Thulh — that lies between Khatter and Tando Mohammad Khan railway stations around five miles away from the city which also has the shrine of Shah Abdul Karim Bulri, the great grandfather of the mystic poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.

Among all the crops grown in Tando Mohammad Khan, the sugarcane crop has a share of 92 percent in the district. There is massive potential for sugarcane thanks to the climatic conditions in the lower Sindh region which led to the establishment of Sindh’s first sugar mill in Tando Mohammad — Fauji Sugar Mills of Fauji Foundation in 1961 — during the Ayub regime.

Tando Mohammad Khan had also witnessed rare visits of state heads like Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, the then president of Pakistan Iskandar Mirza, and Prince Ali Khan, father of the current Prince Kareem Aga Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who at that time contested polls from Tando Mohammad Khan’s neighboring Badin district. This year again Tando Mohammad Khan’s farmers are bearing the brunt of irrigation water shortage due to back-to-back dips that the Indus river system flows witnessed during peak Kharif season which delayed their paddy sowing here. The land remains ready for paddy cultivation without any additional expenses,” says Nabi Bux Sathio, a progressive farmer and native of Tando Mohammad Khan. However, despite the unusual growth in the sugar industrial base in Sindh, the Tando Mohammad Khan sugar mills lay abandoned for around a decade.

Tando Mohammad Khan also has cotton cultivation but farmers believe its production is declining due to seed quality issues. Kotri barrage’s three left bank canals Old Phulelli, New Phuleli, and Akram Wah irrigate parts of Tando Mohammad Khan while feeding Badin, Thatta, and Sujawal districts. This diversified agriculture scenario is also largely due to vital irrigation water sources that feed Tando Mohammad Khan. It was around the 1960s when military hierarchy including Gen Ayub Khan used to visit Tando Mohammad Khan, to be honored and hosted by noted Sindhi landowners, Talpurs, and Syeds.

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