LAHORE – The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Raghib Shah has said that construction work on Kachhi Canal Project has been accelerated to an optimum level, so that the project could be completed as early as possible. He expressed these views during his visit to Kachhi Canal Project to witness the accelerated work at various sites of the project in Dera Ghazi Khan district.
While expressing satisfaction over pace of the work, the Chairman said that Kachhi Canal Project is of immense importance for agro-based socio-economic development in the country. He further said that the project would usher in an era of prosperity, particularly in Balochistan, through irrigated agriculture. He said that the Federal Government has released the direly-needed funds of Rs 2.4 billion for the project. On the directive of the Prime Minister, Wapda has planned to provide water through Kachhi Canal to Dera Bugti District of Balochistan at the earliest not later than March 2013 if funds are made available for the project in similar manner, he added. Raghib directed the project authorities to put in their concerted efforts to achieve this goal.
It may be mentioned that the main Kachhi Canal, which off takes from Taunsa Barrage in district Muzaffargarh of Punjab province, is 500 kilometers long with a capacity of 6000 cusecs, while length of the branch canals, distributaries and minors is about 1500 kilometers. Total command area of Kachhi Canal is 713,000 acres, however, the first phase, currently under-construction, will irrigate about 102,000 acres of barren land in remote areas of Dera Bugti, Naseerabad, Bolan and Jhal Magsi districts in Balochistan, boosting agricultural produce in the area. Benefits of the project have been estimated Rs 5 billion per annum. Wapda Chairman, during his visit, also observed the damages done to the Kachhi Canal Project by the recent floods of hill torrents.
He said that Wapda, on the directive of the Prime Minister, has started preparing a master plan for Southern Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh to control floods of hill torrents. The master plan aims at minimising risks to the local populace as well as the project, and utilising the water for betterment of the people residing in the areas, he added. Wapda General Manager (Central) Water, the Chief Engineer/ Project Director and others also accompanied the Chairman during his visit to the project.