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Sindh needs alternative barrages

August 24, 2013

THIS is apropos the news report ‘SAB tells govt to assign barrage construction to UK body’ (Aug 19).

I agree with the Sindh Abadgar Board that the government should hand over the task of building a new barrage as an alternative to the Sukkur barrage to the Engineering Council, which had designed the Sukkur and some other barrages.

It observed that a team of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) during its visit had expressed grave concern over the condition of the Sukkur barrage and apprehended that any harm coming to the barrage would not only render 62 pc of its commandment area barren but also cause a loss of 3.39 per cent of the country’s GDP, which comes to over Rs413 billion.

Until a new barrage is built, the existing structure of the Sukkur barrage should be repaired so that the availability of irrigation water to its command area could be ensured.

Thus, instead of seeking any loan from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, the government should make arrangements for the funds required for the construction of the new barrage.

The capacity of upstream ponds of Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages should be increased to cater to water needs during the shortage period so that fodder could be produced for the livestock and water could be made available for early Kharif, industrial usage and cattle.

Dadu-Moro and Khairpur-Larkana bridges need to be expanded because these structures block the flow of river water between Sukkur and Kotri barrages, as was witnessed in 2010.