Murad slams Centre for ‘delaying’ federally funded projects in Sindh

Updated January 19, 2019

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The chief minister demands additional allocation of 1,200 cusecs water for Karachi.— DawnNewsTV/File
The chief minister demands additional allocation of 1,200 cusecs water for Karachi.— DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Friday that the federal government appeared uninterested in the development of Sindh as almost all federally funded projects have either been left abandoned or put on the back burner.

The chief minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting to review the progress of the Nai Gaj dam, Darawat dam, Sukkur Barrage rehabilitation and modernisation, RBOD-I and II and Rainee Canal.

He observed that Sindh was left with no choice but to raise its voice at appropriate forums before following other options to stage protests in assemblies.

“Even the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Sukkur Barrage, the lifeline of our agro-economy, which got approved after hectic efforts from the federal government was taken out from its PSDP [public sector development programme],” he said and added that Rs100 million allocated for the project was surrendered to the ministry of planning and reforms.

Demands additional allocation of 1,200 cusecs for Karachi

“This was sheer injustice with the people of Sindh,” he said.

On the occasion, planning and development board chairman Mohammad Waseem informed the meeting that after he had conveyed to the federal government annoyance of the chief minister it had now sent a letter for readjustment of the Sukkur Barrage project.

About the Nai Gaj dam scheme, which was launched by the federal government in 2009 at a cost of Rs16.9 billion to conserve water resources for irrigated agriculture development, protection from floodwaters and hydropower generation, the meeting was informed that the construction cost had escalated to Rs41.79bn in January 2019 and the federal government started demanding Rs22bn from the Sindh government as its share in the project.

“This is not possible for us and we are of the view that the federal government must complete projects it has launched in Sindh,” the CM said.

He urged Nisar Khuhro, who is Sindh’s member in Ecnec, to take up the issue in the Ecnec meeting to be held in Islamabad on Jan 23. “Our stance is very clear which should be conveyed to them frankly,” the chief minister said.

The Nai Gaj project is located in Dadu district and its water flows from the hills and drains out in Manchhar Lake after flowing through the arid zone of Kachho area.

Another project discussed in the meeting was of the Darawat dam. This project is a concrete gravity dam across the Nai Baran River near Jhangri village of taluka Thano Bula Khan, Jamshoro.

The federal government had launched this project for Rs3.17bn in 2010 and set August 2014 as its completion date. But in the second revision the project cost stood at Rs11.7bn.

“This slow pace shows that federal government is not serious to complete its projects in Sindh,” the CM said, adding that the other slow-moving projects were RBOD-I and II and Rainee Canal.

He also said that Karachi is suffering from acute water shortage and needed additional allocation of 1,200 cusecs (650mgd) water from the federal government.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2019