Centre, Sindh to form committee for K-IV water projects

Updated September 03, 2019

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Federal Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Governor Imran Ismail and others listen to a briefing on K-IV project at Keenjhar Lake on Monday. —APP
Federal Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Governor Imran Ismail and others listen to a briefing on K-IV project at Keenjhar Lake on Monday. —APP

KARACHI: The Sindh and federal governments have decided to constitute a joint committee to review the K-IV projects technical report prepared by Nespak so that the project could be carried forward, it was decided on Monday.

The National Engineering Services Pakistan Ltd Company (Nespak) has estimated the cost of the project to be around Rs120 billion but sources say it could actually cost Rs 150 billion because of the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar.

The members who will be part of the technical committee, five each from the Sindh and federal governments, would be notified by the planning commission, sources said.

This decision was taken at a high-level meeting which was attended by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Jahanzaib khan, Planning Secretary Zaffar Ahsan, Member of the Planning Commission retired Maj Gen Zahir Shah at Chief Minister House.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was assisted by Governor Imran Ismail, Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Chairperson Planning and Development Nahid Shah, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sajid Jamal Abro.

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) delegation was led by Director General Major General Inam Haider, Brigadier Abdul Sami of 5 Corps, Brigadier Abeer and others.

Managing Director of the Water Board Asadullah Khan, K-IV Project Director Asad Zamin and Planning and Development officers concerned also attended the meeting.

At the meeting, the Sindh CM suggested constituting a joint team of the provincial Planning & Development Department and Planning Commission of the federal government to review the technicalities of the report to be submitted by Nespak by the end of the current month. The participants of the meeting agreed at the suggestion and which would be notified by the federal Planning Commission.

Nespak officials said the project would cost around Rs120 billion. At this, the chief minister said it would cost Rs150 billion because of the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar. Moreover, officials said a 50-MW power plant has also been proposed for the project. The consultant has almost finalised the PC-I of the power project.

Meanwhile, the CM said that K-I and K-II/III had designed the capacity of 480 MGD which been reduced by 100 MGD due to silt and other technical issues. He proposed conducting a separate study to improve the capacity of K-I and K-II/III projects.

Water issue

Mr Shah told the federal government representatives that water was an issue of life and death for this megalopolis city. “We started K-IV so that it could be completed but over 15 years have passed and it seems it would take a few years more,” he said.

Minister Bakhtiar suggested installing desalination plants in the city to cater urgently to the need for water but it would take two to three years to complete, he said. The chief minister replied his government was ready to install desalination plants in the city if the federal government extended financial support. The federal minister assured the chief minister of his support and urged him to submit the necessary proposal for approval.

Briefing the attendees at the meeting Major General Haider of FWO said that the 11-metre-deep canal being constructed from the Keenjhar lake had a length of 121 kilometres. Out of which the canal would flow in gravity up to 91km. The civil work of the canal was 70 per cent finished. There were some alignment issues on which Nespak was working to conduct third party assessment, he said.

Nespak representatives Jawaid Mir, Mirza Asif Baig and Mohammad Afzal said they might suggest modifications to the existing alignment of the canal. “We are conducting a geo study of the canal embankment to see whether it would be able to sustain the pressure of 660 MGD water. We will complete the study by the end of the current month and then submit it to the provincial government.”

Minister Bakhtiar said the project, which was at an advanced stage, needed another technical review by an expert team.

Earlier, the chief minister took Minister Bakhtiar, Governor Ismail to Lake Keenjhar, some 30 kilometres from Thatta city, at the intake point of the K-IV project by helicopter. They visited the site of the mouth of the project which was developed inside the canal at 257 metres from the soil area, the canal, the conduits and the bridges constructed so far where were also briefed by FWO engineers.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2019