Sindh CM takes notice of contamination in Manchar Lake water

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has taken a serious notice of water contamination in Manchhar Lake.

He said that the polluted water coming from Balochistan and Punjab was causing contamination.

He further said the matter of early completion of Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) project would be taken up in the meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI) to divert it and give a safe passage to such toxic effluent to the Arabian Sea.

This he observed while presiding over a meeting to review the performance of Irrigation Department and its components here on Tuesday.

He said that RBOD project was designed to take the polluted water from right bank of Indus river to the sea by Federal Government but the delay in release of funds has not only increased its cost but also caused degradation of historical Manchhar Lake and the fertile land of Sindh.

He said that due to natural gravity, Sindh was receiving the polluted effluent from Balochistan and Punjab which was supposed to be disposed of into Arabian Sea through RBOD Project.

Hence this RBOD project was multi provincial project and must be completed by the federal government on priority basis.

He directed the Secretary Irrigation to prepare a comprehensive summary with facts and figures so that this matter be taken to and resolved in CCI meeting.

Provincial Secretary Irrigation Babar Afandi while briefing the meeting about progress of work on RBOD project said that 67 percent work of project has been completed whereas according to its schedule this project was supposed to be completed by 2008.

He said that instead of having been given annual allocation of Rs 3.5 billion for 2012-13, only Rs 1.4 billion have been released recently which still has not been communicated to the executing authority.

While discussing the ongoing project of rehabilitation and strengthening of Sukkur Barrage, the Chief Minister directed the Secretary Irrigation and Chief Engineer Sukkur Barrage to complete their model study within a week’s time and added that he would personally inspect the demonstration of the model before giving permission for going ahead.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah further said that Sindh Government has earmarked an annual allocation of Rs 12 billion for Sindh Irrigation Department and more than Rs 6 billion have been released, in addition to that a grant of $ 235 million from Asian Development Bank has also been made available for rehabilitation of the canals and distributaries, which were damaged in the flood in 2010.

He said that the result of such huge investment must be remarkable and visible to the people.

He directed the officers to complete 46 ongoing development schemes by December 31, 2013 for which 100 percent allocation has been released to them and also to finalise the 19 other development schemes by June 2014 for which required amount has also been released.

The Chief Minister Sindh also directed the Secretary Irrigation to consult the stakeholders, public representatives for proposed alignment of RBOD with a view to resolve their apprehensions if any.

He also directed the P&D Department for rehabilitation of the damaged distributaries and canals specially in upper Sindh and resolve the complaints of the people on ground.

The Secretary Irrigation informed the meeting that out of 122 small dams designed in arid zones of Nanger Parkar and Kohistan, 33 have been completed while work on others was in progress.