Minister recommends urgent measures to control the damage of gates of Sukkur barrage

Karachi, September 03, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Minister on Mines and Minerals Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani on Monday suggested that urgent measures be taken to control the damage of gate number 39 and five other gates of Sukkur Barrage to avoid any eventuality. The Minister presented this recommendation in a report presented by him alongwith Member Sindh Assembly Owais Qadir Shah before the Sindh Cabinet here on Monday.

They also suggested that barrage operation and regulation may be ensured as per Standard Operating Procedure. The report stated that Sukkur Barrage was built in 1932, with large canals on the left and right banks with total command areas of around 3.2 million hectares whose annual agricultural production is worth about Rs 300 billion, thus, it is considered a lifeline for Sindh.

The report discussed that the Original design of Sukkur Barrage had a flood passage capacity of 1.5 million cusecs, however, the right bank canals were drawing excessive silt and became unusable after a few years of operation. Following a hydraulic model study conducted in 1938 – 1941, the authorities decided to construct a silt excluder in the right bank canal and permanently close the 10 gates that were inoperable due to siltation. The design flood passage capacity was, thus, reduced to 0.9 million cusecs. Since then, there have been 11 flood events at Sukkur Barrage surpassing 0.9 million cusecs, six of which were more than 1.1 million cusecs. The largest flood, in 1976, was 1.2 million cusecs.

In view of reduced capacity, the report proposed that major dredging works should also be performed to restore the flood capacity, which has been significantly reduced by the serious deposits of sediment. The report said that the Sindh Government with financial assistance of World Bank has approved a project of over Rs 1.7 billion for rehabilitation and modernization works on Sukkur barrage, which, will be effective from September 11, 2018.

The key mechanical and electrical works are included in the works to enable safer operation by raising the gates higher during large flood, it added. The report also recommended control the water theft across the board from all canals using para military force as a short term measure while effective water theft control by the irrigation staff and farmers organizations in long run. Effective rotation plans developed through participation of stakeholder and farmers organizations and wide dissemination of canal rotation plans through FM, newspapers, social media and mobile messages, the report said.

Coordination among irrigation and agriculture departments must be improved and a campaign for water saving in agriculture may be started be agriculture department, and irrigation extension services may be started by the agriculture department, the report.

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