ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal carried out field visit and aerial inspection of the Kachhi Canal project on Saturday and directed the planning and development division to fully facilitate the Balochistan government in completing the project in the shortest possible time.

The Kachhi Canal project has remained incomplete for the last 15 years.

Initially its cost was Rs39 billion but the cost continued to go up with the passage of time. The project will now be completed at a cost of Rs88 billion.

Accompanied by planning and development secretary, Wapda chairman, engineering-in-chief of Pakistan Army, Balochistan chief secretary and irrigation secretaries of Punjab and Balochistan, Mr Iqbal said the government gave top priority to the development of Balochistan and it believed in action unlike the previous government.

The federal government wanted the first phase of the project to be completed within two years, he said.

The deputy chairman of the Planning Commission said there would be zero tolerance for corruption and incompetence.

Under the first phase of the project, 100,000 acres of land would be irrigated as the prime minister’s gift to the people of Dera Bugti.

Later, the canal will be extended to Kachhi Plain, including Jhal Magsi.

Started in 2003, the project was suspended due to extra expenditure caused by security measures and extra work for construction of head regulator of the canal, drainage measures under concrete lining, surface drain for disposal of floodwater along the Pat Feeder Canal, hill torrent management works, additional lining of 25 distributaries and minors under phase one of the Dera-Bugti portion.

The inspection of the canal started from Sui to Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan, covering 300 kilometres.

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