DADU: World Bank has agreed to carry out pre-feasible study for the construction of new Sukkur barrage and proposed to Sindh government establishment of a “barrage management unit” to bring three barrages under the control of one chief engineer instead of three officers looking after the barrages separately.

Francois Onimus, Task Team Leader of the World Bank’s Technical Support Mission comprising John Petherick, project manager of Guddu and Sukkur barrages and Chris Hall, chief resident engineer of Guddu Barrage Rehabilitation Project, suggested at a meeting here on Wednesday to the project director of Sindh Barrages Improvement Project (SBIP), Ghulam Mohiuddin Mughal, to conduct pre-feasible study for new Sukkur barrage, which was demanded by Sindh government.

Mr Onimus said that barrage management unit (BMU) would help ensure equitable water distribution, sediment management and surveillance of barrages in Sindh.

The mission have been visiting sites of SBIP in the province for the last four days to assess the progress on the Guddu and Sukkur barrages’ rehabilitation and modernisation project.

The SBIP project director Ghulam Mohiuddin Mughal said in his presentation to the mission that ten main gates had arrived from Turkey at the Guddu barrage site and work on the replacement of gates would start next week.

Furthermore, he said the work on river training works had been completed except for strengthening and widening of spur at upstream Guddu barrage. Four out of six gates had already been replaced at Sukkur barrage and the remaining would be changed shortly, he said.

He said that contract documents of replacement of the remaining 30 gates of the Sukkur barrage and 165 gates of head regulators would be floated in international, national and local newspapers after their review by consultants.

Mr Onimus held another meeting with Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro and officers concerned of his department in which Mohammad Ayoob Soomro, additional technical secretary of irrigation made a presentation on the proposed establishment of BMU and said that the post of adviser Water Distribution Cell was suggested to be redesignated and upgraded to chief engineer of BMU.

Directorate of hydrology and research might also be shifted from the office of chief engineer of Kotri to the BMU with enhanced terms of reference (ToRs) and qualifications. The new setup would improve efficient operation maintenance of the three barrages, he said.

The minister Jam Khan Shoro said the proposed reforms would be placed before cabinet and chief minister for discussion and approval.

Mr Onimus appreciated the Sindh government’s willingness to consider the proposal for establishing BMU which would work on water monitoring, sediment management, mergence of prepared plans and surveillance and maintenance of barrages.

He said the main objective of the bank was to help the Sindh government in introducing reforms in water sector to enhance economy of the province. Furthermore, draft of Sindh water policy for integrating water resources had been prepared, he said.

The minister stressed the need for involving more stakeholders in the process of framing water policy and proposing changes to Irrigation Act 1879 to make the two compatible with each other.

He asked Mr Onimus to conduct feasibility study for the new Sukkur barrage. It should have been conducted 30 years earlier or even before that because almost all possible sites for the new barrage had already been occupied by housing schemes, roads, bridges and other heavy structures. Hence, this study must be conducted at the earliest, he said.

Mr Oniums agreed and suggested to PD of SBIP to prepare terms of reference for pre-feasibility study of the new barrage at Sukkur.

The meeting was attended by Jamaluddin Mangan, special secretary (technical) irrigation department; Mohammad Ayoob Soomro, additional secretary (technical); Sohail Ahmed Qureshi, secretary irrigation; chief engineers of Sukkur, Guddu and Kotri barrages, Syed Sardar Shah, Mohammad Ishaq Abbasi and Haji Khan Jamali, respectively, chief engineer of small dams organisation, Shafqat Hussain Wadho, managing director Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority Pretam Das, deputy project coordinator Sajid Ali Bhutto, deputy director environment Dr Ali Asghar Mahesar, director mechanical Noor Al Arfin and Imran Aziz Tunio, technical officer of SBIP.

In yet another meeting with high officials of irrigation department, Mr Onimus advised a model study of river training works of Sukkur barrage.

He advised flood routing study for Guddu and Sukkur barrages to avoid recurrence of breach in the river dykes.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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