ISLAMABAD: Out of 33 water development schemes identified in the federal budget for next year, 24 have been earmarked for Balochistan, which include construction of dams or canals and feasibility studies for new projects and improvements in the existing ones.

The water-related projects mentioned in the budget include three for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two each for Sindh and Punjab.

Besides, there are 19 ongoing water schemes for Balochistan, but Senator Saifullah Magsi has accused the incumbent government of playing with figures.

“This is nothing short of deception — only to show that development activities continue in Balochistan, but I am confident that none of the new schemes will materialise because this government releases funds for Punjab-based projects only,” Senator Magsi added.

While, the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18 has two national level water projects, including rehabilitation and modernisation of the Sukkur barrage.

The total cost of this project is estimated at Rs16.16 billion which includes foreign funding too. However Rs10 million has been allocated for the project in the budget 2017-18.

The other national level project in the budget 2017-18 is strengthening the technical capacity of the office of the Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Water, with at a cost of Rs635.36m, while Rs50m has been allocated for the project in the current budget.

A vast majority of new water related projects are for Balochistan, including Rs50m for studies of Burj Aziz Khan Dam, located near Quetta for water supply to the provincial capital. The government has allocated Rs50m for a feasibility study of Badinzai dam near Zhob and Rs50m for the construction of 200 small check dams for groundwater recharge in Quetta.

The other water related schemes for the province are Abato Daisara & Sanzaia dam, Chaman — Rs50m has been allocated for it in the budget and Rs50m for construction of a dam in the Aghburg area, Quetta.

Mara Tangi dam, will be constructed in District Loralai. Out of its total cost of Rs450m half will be financed through foreign funding. Similarly, small storage dams in Rud Mullazai area, District Pishin, will be constructed at a cost of Rs300m and half of it is foreign funding.

The government has allocated Rs50m for Dosi dam, Gwadar. Extension of Pat Feeder canal for utilisation of Indus Water is part of the Balochistan Package-III.

Several other water projects in Balochistan include construction of Delay Action dam in Nushki district, Tuk Storage dam in Wadh of Khuzdar district, Kangori Storage dam in Shah Noorani area in Khuzdar district, Garah Storage dam in Wadh and Bohir Mass Storage dam in Wadh, Khuzdar district.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2017