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Authorities keen to expedite rehabilitation of Sukkur Barrage.

SUKKUR, November 19, 2009 (Balochistan Times): District Coordination Officer, Abdul Majeed Pathan has said that Sukkur Barrage is the lifeline for Sindhs agricultural economy and that the federal government has taken all out efforts to maintain it. The DCO said that work on a Rs. One Billion Rehabilitation Project for Sukkur Barrage and its off-taking canals had been started in 2004. It was initiated through repair of the canal and presently the entire project is in process of completion within minimum time, he added. The irrigation system of Sindh, based on its barrages, was revamped in phases, he said and added that the work on the barrage included filling the ditches and pits, that had developed over the years. He said this project was proposed by the consultants and General Head Quarters (GHQ)s engineer-in-chief Lt Gen Zubair. The DCO said that the federal government was taking sound and long term measures for the safety and longevity of the Sukkur barrage. He said that Rs. 1.87 billion was also approved for the rehabilitation of left bank of Sukkur barrage and this was also approved in the recent meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (NEC). To a question, Pathan said that after the construction of the barrage in 1926, it was observed that heavy silt was depositing in the right pocket canals, which included Rice Canal, Dadu Canal and Kirthar Canal. Therefore, the 300 feet long submerge weir was constructed in 1940 from the middle of Lab-e-Mehran to the regulator of the canals with an aim to stop silt from depositing in the canals, he said. Earlier in 2004, a 30 feet deep and 30 feet wide pit had developed in certain parts of the barrage and the Sindh government had undertaken large scale rehabilitation work against a cost of Rs. Rs750 million, DCO said. He said in time remedial measures had been taken to repair it, otherwise, Indus water may be rushed directly to the canals and it would have result in accumulation of heavy silt in the canals. Responding to another question, the DCO said that the renovation work of the Sukkur Barrage was undertaken with the help of a British company which had constructed the barrage in 1932. Meanwhile, Chief Engineer of the Sukkur Barrage, Muhammad Haroon Memon told that no major repair of the barrage had been carried out after 1983, adding that on Jan 25, 2002 during the annual canal closure season, it was revealed that a huge ditch had appeared between the gate 1 and 2, posing danger to the barrage. He said that the ditch had started developing in 2002 and as the officials at that time did not pay attention towards it, it got widened in 2003 and 2004, becoming even more dangerous for the structure of the barrage. He further said the barrage repair work required huge funding for which a grant from the federal government was also needed. He said that the Sukkur Barrage was designed to discharge 1.2 million cusecs of water, adding that more than 1.2 cusecs of water had flown through the barrage in 1973. He said that A PC-1 had been prepared for grant and the federal government had approved Rs. 2,478 million for rehabilitation of the barrage, adding that he expected Rs.1000 million would be released by the end of 2009. The amount would enable the department to start work in two months and the remaining amount would be released in 2010-11, he said. The Chief Engineer said that top engineering firms of Pakistan, the UK, China and other countries would be invited through tenders for the barrage rehabilitation. To a question, he said that work would be distributed among different firms. It would be completed in phases and would include inserting concrete into the structure with the help of heavy machinery, he said. He said the chief minister had released Rs6 million for carrying out desilting of canals and the area under the gates of the barrage. The work of desilting and levelling had already begun, he said. The rehabilitation work, scheduled to be completed in three years at a cost of Rs. one billion, he said would give a new lease of life to the structure. He dispelled the impression that nothing had been done for the barrages maintenance and mentioned a number of measures taken by the department to keep this vital national asset in shape. To another question, Muhammad Haroon Memon said that at least 60 tube-wells had been installed at the right pocket of the Sukkur Barrage to drain out water accumulating there. The tube-wells had been put on operation while three sub-engineers monitored the work round the clock, he said.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Nov 19, 2009
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