HYDERABAD: Works on the revival of natural waterways, Dhoro Puran and others, in Mirpu­rkhas and Badin districts estimated to cost Rs2 billion will be carried out to help the waterways run along their old courses and offload into spinal drain of Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) that falls into sea.

The works to be executed by Sindh irrigation department’s deve­­l­op­ment wing would become part of an already approved sche­me worth Rs4,788.223m whose total cost would then rise to over Rs6bn, said officials.

The LBOD dissects Dhoro Puran at four locations, RD-276, RD-261, RD-238 and RD-211 due to what irrigation experts believe its faulty design and propose underpasses for the drain.

Sindh Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro recently visited the marked locations that fell within Mirpurkhas and Badin districts where he was briefed about issues arising out of the construction of the LBOD. He inspected different sections of the drain to understand the problem and come up with its solution.

LBOD was built by Wapda in 90s and handed over initially to Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) and then to Sindh irrigation department.

The minister was accompanied by Sindh Assembly members, whose constituencies were hard hit by heavy rains that led to breaches in the LBOD last year and inundated large swathes of farmland.

The blocked sections of natural waterways including Dhoro Puran, Hakro Dhoro and old left-over drainage pockets that were to be connected with the LBOD caused accumulation of rainwater in the areas and exacerbated the conditions.

Dhoro Puran is considered to be an old channel of the Indus river, which has functioned as a drain while receiving runoff of monsoon rains and other natural waterways.

Irrigation officials told Dawn that Hakro Dhoro fell into Dhoro Puran near Naukot and then they fell together in spinal drain of LBOD at RD-261. Dhoro Puran’s issue had been longstanding since the construction of LBOD in 90s, they said.

In 2011 rains, LBOD had also caused massive devastation due to blockage of old waterways including Dhoro Puran and Hakro Dhoro, which had been blocked by encroachments and human settlements at different locations.

The Sindh government had at that time spent around Rs5bn but failed to achieve desired results.

The old course of Dhoro Puran was intersected by spinal drain between RD-305 to RD-211. “Dhoro Puran originates from the north of Mirpurkhas city and after passing through the city it runs parallel to left bank of MMD (Mirpurkhas Main Drain).

“The MMD’s wastewater falls in spinal drain at RD-297 that has first engineered deviation under LBOD Stage-I Project from its natural course in 90s,” said chief engineer of development region-II, Zarif Khero.

He said that spinal drain intersected Dhoro Puran at RDs 297, 276, 251, 238 and 211. From RD-211 of teh spinal drain, the Dhoro takes its natural course towards south-east and falls at its ultimate destination into the sea.

The irrigation minister and MPAs discussed problems faced by people in monsoon rains and flooding caused by LBOD over the years. They shared their views on possible solutions to make the system efficient and avoid rain related damage exacerbated by LBOD.

According to Khero, it had now been decided to revive natural routes of old waterways, especially Dhoro Puran, hence the works needed to be executed urgently.

An old scheme titled “Restorat­ion/rehabilitation of LBOD & Kotri drainage network system including activation of Dhoras” (phase-II) was executed to restore natural routes of waterways, he said.

He said that some works were pending execution owing to issues with land acquisition and litigation. Underpasses needed to be built with escape regulator along spinal drain for which a spot had been identified between RD-238 to RD-211. “The underpasses were not originally part of the old scheme,” he said.

He said that underpasses would be included in the Rs2bn scheme now in addition to the already approved scheme of Rs4,788.223m. A proposal was being sent to the government for inclusion of the Rs2bn works in the approved scheme, he said.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2021

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