Minister presents report to Sindh Cabinet on damages to Sukkur Barrage Gates

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Sindh Minister for Mines and Minerals, Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani on Monday presented a report before the Sindh Cabinet stressing the need for urgent measures to control the damage to gate number 39 and five other gates of Sukkur Barrage to avoid any eventuality.
According to a statement here, he presented the report along with Member of Provincial Assembly of Sindh (MPA) Owais Qadir Shah to the cabinet.
They also suggested that the operation of barrage and regulation may be ensured as per Standard Operating Procedure (SPO).
The report states that the Sukkur Barrage was built in 1932 with large canals on the left and right banks of it with a total command area of around 3.2 million hectares where annual agricultural production is about Rs 300 billion, thus, it is considered a lifeline for Sindh.
The report says that the original design of the Barrage has a flood passage capacity of 1.5 million cusecs, however, the right bank canal was drawing excessive silt and becomes unusable after a few years of the operation. Following a hydraulic model study conducted in 1938 – 1941, the authorities decided to construct a silt excluder on 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 the 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 the 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 on water theft across the board from all canals using paramilitary force as a short term measure while effective water theft control by the irrigation staff and farmers organizations in the long run.
Effective rotation plans developed through participation of stakeholders and farmer 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 and irrigation extension services may be started by the agriculture department, the report.—APP

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