OKARA: Even after more than three years, the Irrigation Department has yet to complete the 40 per cent reconstruction of the Gogera branch’s Jandraka Minor.

The department undertook the construction of 12 canal miles, of 19 miles, years ago to improve the condition of the minor and water flow. One canal mile covers 5,000 feet. The incomplete work has forced the farmers to irrigate their farms through diesel-or electricity-run tubewells.

Farmers Rai Ashraf Musrera, Rai Imran Jazib, Rai Sakhawat and Muhammad Riaz spoke about the situation the farmers of 19 villages along the Jandarka Minor are facing. They said the canal miles situated some 20 km from the city and three kilometres in the south of the River Ravi were extremely in a dilapidated condition.

It is important to mention that when the reconstruction project was approved, the contractor pointed out an “error” in the plan, which mentioned “filling and cutting and placing of cemented slabs”.

The contractor refused to start work till the correction of the error as the mentioned terms would cost him higher than the approved expenditures. The department took three years to redesign the project. A group of small farmers of the area told this correspondent they had to spend a considerable amount of irrigation because of the dilapidated condition of the canal.

Canal Irrigation Department Sub-Divisional officer Chaudhry Muhammad Saeed Dhudhi told Dawn that the official procedures consumed extra time to get the project plan error fixed. He said the department had completed 60 per cent of the work, and the reconstructed area of the minor was being given the water supply.

He said he was hopeful the remaining length of the minor would be completed soon. Locals demanded that the government look into the matter keeping in view to avoid in future such situations in other areas.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2022

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