PMIU NEWS
November 2007 Minister for Irrigation Punjab briefed about Irrigation System and Reforms Activities
November 2007 Minister for Irrigation Visits FOs & Development Project in LCC East Pilot Project (AWB)
November 2007 Armed Forces War Course Visits Nandipur Research Stations: Briefed on Reforms Initiatives
October 2007 Irrigation Water Regulatory Advisory Board Approves Rabi Plan
July 2007 100 New Former Organization in LCC West & CRBC
July 2007 GIS/RS Technology for Assessment of Water Productivity
June 2007 Taunsa Barrage Civil Work Completed One Year Ahead of Schedule
June 2007 Record Development Budget for year 2007-08
07-05-2007 Visit of Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I & P to Bahawalpur Zone
30-04-2007 Visit of Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I & P to Multan Zone
28-02-2007 Compensation to Persons Affected by Taunsa Barrage Project
07-02-2007 Media Exposure Visit to Taunsa Barrage
24-01-2007 Press release regarding resumption work at Taunsa Barrage
18-01-2007 Press note regarding repair of Breach at Taunsa Barrage
16-01-2007 Press note regarding Taunsa Barrage mishap

Minister for Irrigation Punjab briefed about Irrigation System and Reforms Activities
Minster for Irrigation alongwith Secretary Irrigation and Power Department Arif Nadeem and other senior officers conducted a field visit to Lower Chenab Canal East (AWB) on November 27, 2007 to oversee the functioning of FOs, review the progress of development activities and share the achievements of the reform initiatives with all the stakeholders. During the visit Chief Engineer Faisalabad briefed the Minister about the ongoing development activities in LCC East Circle including the major project of the remodelling of the entire LCC System in three parts. On behalf of Punjab Irrigation & Drainage Authority (PIDA), Director Vigilance gave a presentation on reform initiatives and the ongoing activities regarding formation of FOs and measures for improvement in abiana collection and overall performance.

The minister also inspected major hydraulic structures that have been constructed under the financing of JBIC on LCC System. Minister also inspected a farmer managed distributary of Qabarwala. He appreciated the efforts made to ensure equitable and transparent distribution of water and 100% abiana collection by the FOs.

The Minister also held a press conference to brief the media on various reform initiatives, development projects and the positive impacts of irrigation management transfer. Representatives of national print and electronic media, farmers of the area and IPD and PIDA officers attended the press conference. The press conference was widely covered by TV channels including APNA, AAJ and INDUS, and major national newspapers including Dawn, News, Nation, Daily Times, The Post, Nawa-e-Waqt and Express.

Minister for Irrigation Visits FOs & Development Project in LCC East Pilot Project (AWB)
Minster for Irrigation alongwith Secretary Irrigation and Power Department Arif Nadeem and other senior officers conducted a field visit to Lower Chenab Canal East (AWB) on November 27, 2007 to oversee the functioning of FOs, review the progress of development activities and share the achievements of the reform initiatives with all the stakeholders. During the visit Chief Engineer Faisalabad briefed the Minister about the ongoing development activities in LCC East Circle including the major project of the remodelling of the entire LCC System in three parts. On behalf of Punjab Irrigation & Drainage Authority (PIDA), Director Vigilance gave a presentation on reform initiatives and the ongoing activities regarding formation of FOs and measures for improvement in abiana collection and overall performance.
The minister also inspected major hydraulic structures that have been constructed under the financing of JBIC on LCC System. Minister also inspected a farmer managed distributary of Qabarwala. He appreciated the efforts made to ensure equitable and transparent distribution of water and 100% abiana collection by the FOs.
The Minister also held a press conference to brief the media on various reform initiatives, development projects and the positive impacts of irrigation management transfer. Representatives of national print and electronic media, farmers of the area and IPD and PIDA officers attended the press conference. The press conference was widely covered by TV channels including APNA, AAJ and INDUS, and major national newspapers including Dawn, News, Nation, Daily Times, The Post, Nawa-e-Waqt and Express.

IRRIGATION WATER REGULATORY ADVISORY BOARD APPROVES RABI PLAN
A meeting of Irrigation Water Regulatory Advisory Board was held under the Chairmanship of Minister for Irrigation in November to discuss the Rabi Plan for 2007-08. The board comprised a farmer member, a representative of Agriculture Department and senior management of Irrigation & Power Department Punjab. During the meeting, it was observed that in October 2007 the river flows were far below the anticipations and a shortfall of 22% as against 17% of last year was expected. Keeping in view the water availability situation, the board approved Rabi Plan for 2007-08 and the following schedule was adopted for water distribution in consultation with Agriculture Department.

1 Close Non-Perennial Channels in Cotton Zone(Tarbela Command). Oct 10
2 Close all Perennial Channels in Cotton Zone (Tarbela Command). Oct 16 - 25
3 Extended flow Period of Non Perennial Channels in Rice Zone (Mangla Command). Oct 15 - 20
4 Close all Perennial Channels in Rice Zone (Mangla Command). Oct 21 - 31
5 Release 15 days water in Non - Perennial Channels in Cotton Zone (Tarbela Command). Nov 01 - 15
6 Provide Maximum Water in Coton Zone for Wheat Sowing. Nov 01 - Dec 31
7 Provide Maximum Water in Rice Zone for Wheat Sowing. Nov 01 - Dec 25
8 Provide at least two waterings in Perennial Canal in Cotton and Rice Zone. Feb 10 - March 20
9 Close educe all channels to remain within Punjab share. Mar 21 - 31

ARMED FORCES WAR COURSE VISITS NANDIPUR RESEARCH STATION: BRIEFED ON REFORMS INITIATIVES
Armed Forces War Course of the National Defense University visited Hydraulic Research station at Nandipur on November 26, 2007. Chief SPRU gave a detailed briefing on major water sector challenges at national and provincial level and the strategies being adopted to address these challenges including Punjab Irrigation Sector Reform Programme. The members of the Course were also handed out sets of IPD and PIDA brochures. During the visit, the members of the Course studied various irrigation models including those of dams and barrages, and asked questions about various dimensions of water regulation, particularly from reforms point of view. They were also briefed about the Indus Water Treaty and regulation of Punjab canal system.

100 NEW FORMER ORGANIZATIONS IN LCC WEST & CRBC
PIDA has established 100 new Farmers’ Organizations in Lower Chenab Canal West and Chashma Right Bank Canal areas. The Authority has also initiated work for formation of 100 new FOs in DG Khan and Bahawalnagar Circle during 2007-08. By PMIU
PIDA held its 33rd meeting at PIDA Headquarter on 28 June, 2007 under the chairmanship of Minister Irrigation / Chairman PIDA. The Authority approved the annual budget of Rs.1742 million for the year 2007-08. By PMIU

GIS/RS TECHNOLOGY FOR ASSESSMENT OF WATER PRODUCTIVITY
International Water Management Institute (IWMI) gave a comprehensive presentation on July 21, 2007 on the use of GIS/Remote Sensing Technology for spatio-temporal assessment of cropping patterns, cropping intensity, actual evapotranspiration, water productivity, soil salinity and groundwater use patterns. This technology can be used in understanding different aspects of irrigated agriculture and impact assessment of different water management interventions at farm, canal command, sub-basin and basin level.
Secretary IPD, Chief SPRU, Chief PMIU, Groundwater Management Team and Shamshad Gohar, Consultant GW attended the presentation. The usefulness of this GIS/RS technology for water resource management was recognized by the participants. It was decided that IWMI would prepare a detailed proposal in the form of PC II for the use of this technology for water productivity studies. The areas earmarked for this study were Rachna Doab (UCC and LCC commands), Bahawalpur Irrigation Zone and Lower Bari Doab Canal Command. It was also decided that later this study would be extended to the entire province. IWMI was asked to articulate the details of financial and human resource requirements along with timeframe to accomplish the task of this water productivity study.

TAUNSA BARRAGE CIVIL WORK COMPLETED ONE YEAR AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
All the major civil works of the Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project have been completed one year ahead of the schedule. The completed civil works include construction of 4350 feet long subsidiary weir, silt excluder for DG Khan Canal and strengthening of the existing barrage. This has been made possible largely due to the efforts of Irrigation staff, Project Management Organization for Punjab Barrages and Contractors.

RECORD DEVELOPMENT WORK FOR YEAR 2007
In keeping with Asset Management Plan developed by SPRU and Medium Tem Budgetary Framework approved by Government of the Punjab, record funds have been allocated for development activities for 2007-08. Rs. 11000 million have been allocated for Annual Development Programme and Rs. 5460 million for Public Sector Development Programme. The main development activities for this year include rehabilitation and modernization of canal systems, rehabilitation and modernization of barrages, construction of new small dams, lining of canals and rehabilitation of drainage network.

VISIT OF MINISTER FOR IRRIGATION AND SECRETARY I & P TO BAHAWALPUR ZONE

Irrigation and Power Department is implementing a holistic program which is heading towards infrastructure improvements, fiscal management and improvement of quality of services. In view of the importance of monitoring the implementation of developmental schemes and O&M works towards ensuring transparency, judicious use of funds and timely completion of projects, Minister for Irrigation and Secretary Irrigation and Power Department are jointly undertaking inspections and visits to zonal headquarters.

Visit and inspection to Bahawalpur Zone which has been undertaken from 2-4 May, 2007 is second of the series of visits planned to review the progress of various works and operational status of channels in the Zone. Govt. is giving priority to allocating resources for development of Southern Punjab. Accordingly, Irrigation and Power Department is implementing major projects like rehabilitation of Sadiqia Canal, rehabilitation of Hakra Branch, rehabilitation of Fordwah Branch and Macleod Gunj, rehabilitation of Punjnad Canal and rehabilitation of SMB Link & Bahawal Canal Lower in the Bahawalpur Irrigation Zone.

Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I&P held a meeting with Chief Engineer, Bahawalpur Irrigation Zone, all Superintending Engineers and Executive Engineers on 2nd May, 2007 and reviewed progress of various development projects and O&M works being carried out in the Zone. The Minister advised the Officers to ensure quality and timely completion of all projects. 

The elected representatives from District Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan also held meetings with the Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I&P in the Circuit House Bahawlpur on 02-05-2007. Various issues regarding delivery of irrigation water, matters concerned with design/size of outlets, water availability situation in Lower Bahawal Canal and water availability in the tail reaches came under discussion.

For the purpose of inspection the following teams were constituted:

Sr. No Name of Officers Name of Work Circle

1.

Malik Shabbir Ahmad
Deputy Director, Vigilance Cell

Mr. Muhammad Iqbal
Deputy Director, Vigilance Cell
Chachran Bund O&M Works


Panjand Main Line (ISRP)
Rahimyar Khan

2.

Sheikh Muhammad Yousaf
Director (Hydrology)

Mr. Tariq Bashir Dar
Director NDP

Mr. Moeen-ud-Din Shah
Superintending Engineer Lahore Drainage Circle

Mr. Tariq Siddique Khokhar
Director SPRU
Fordwah Canal (ADP)


Awami Canal (ADP)


Sadiqia Canal (ISRP)


Hakra Canal (ISRP)
Bahawalnagar

3.

Mr. Tariq Malik
Deputy Director NDP 

Brig. Muhammad Abbas
Director Vigilance Cell
 O&M and ADP works Bahawalpur

The teams were advised to undertake the following:

  1. Inspection of Development and O&M works (ADP, PSDP etc.)
  2. Inspection of Flood Protection Infrastructure/Works and review of the flood preparedness status
  3. Review of Canal Operations After the inspection of works, the officers concerned apprised Minister Irrigation and Secretary I&P about status of the works.
A press conference was also held on May 3, 2007 by Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I&P in which detailed briefing was given to the press on the ongoing projects in the Bahawalpur Zone. In the press conference, the Minister highlighted major development works going on in Bahawalpur Irrigation Zone, Department’s efforts to ensure water availability at the tail reaches of the system, and digitization of the monitoring system. The press conference was widely covered in national and regional press.

VISIT OF MINISTER FOR IRRIGATION AND SECRETARY I & P TO MULTAN ZONE

Punjab Irrigation System commands an area (CCA) of 21 million acres. The Irrigation network consisting of 24 Main Canal Systems with total capacity of 1.10 Lac cusecs which draw allocated discharges from 14 barrages and is diverted to farmers’ field through 58,000 outlets. For operational efficiency, the system has been divided into 6 Irrigation Zones (Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Multan, Bahawalpur & D.G Khan zones). Multan Zone comprises 5 Barrages, 5042 miles long irrigation channels to deliver 27022 Cs discharge for Kharif and 14012 Cs for Rabi through 11611 outlets to irrigate an area of 4.98 million acres.Punjab Irrigation System commands an area (CCA) of 21 million acres. The Irrigation network consisting of 24 Main Canal Systems with total capacity of 1.10 Lac cusecs which draw allocated discharges from 14 barrages and is diverted to farmers’ field through 58,000 outlets. For operational efficiency, the system has been divided into 6 Irrigation Zones (Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Multan, Bahawalpur & D.G Khan zones). Multan Zone comprises 5 Barrages, 5042 miles long irrigation channels to deliver 27022 Cs discharge for Kharif and 14012 Cs for Rabi through 11611 outlets to irrigate an area of 4.98 million acres.

In line with the vision of Government of the Punjab, Irrigation and Power Department is implementing a holistic programme which is heading towards infrastructural improvements, fiscal management and improvement of quality of service. In pursuance of these objectives, the department has developed a 10-year asset management plan for phased implementation and has significantly enhanced budget for operation and maintenance of the system. It has embarked upon a major rehabilitation programme costing Rs 12 billion which includes PSDP, ADP and donors funded projects. The department has also raised O&M budget from Rs 1.3 billion to 2.2 billion.

Govt. Of Punjab is committed to allocate maximum resources for development of Southern Punjab. Accordingly Irrigation and power Department is implementing a huge development programme, costing Rs. 2900 million for up-gradation and improvement of century old irrigation system of Multan Zone. This also includes Rehabilitation of Pakpattan Canal, Mailsi Canal, Lodhran Branch, Remodeling of SMB Link Canal and Bahawal Canal Lower, Concrete lining of 9 Distributaries/Minors, Restoration of flood infrastructure and construction of offices/residential buildings. Besides ADP allocation of Rs. 700 million, O & M allocation for maintenance and repairs of Canals of Multan Zone has also been raised from Rs.120 million to Rs 255 million during the current financial year (2006-07).

In addition to above, rehabilitation of LBDC system falling in Multan Zone under Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Development Sector Project, funded by Asian Development Bank is being undertaken while rehabilitation of Rungpur Canal, Sidhnai Canal System and Pakpattan Canal System and Modernization of Balloki and Islam Head Works will be carried out in the subsequent years.

Keeping in view the importance of monitoring the implementation of development schemes and O&M works towards ensuring transparency, judicious use of funds and timely completion of projects, it was decided that Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I&P would jointly undertake inspection visits to zonal headquarters to review the progress of various development projects and O&M Works.

In the above context, Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I & P visited Multan Zone from 25-27 April, 2007 and held meeting with Chief Engineer Multan and Superintendent Engineers & Executive Engineers of the Zone and reviewed the progress of implementation of development as well as O & M works. The overall Progress of development works was 67% while that of O & M works was 71%. Minutes of the meeting are placed at Flag-“A”. During the meeting, the field officers were given directions to expedite the implementation of development and O & M works to achieve the targets set for the current financial year. The Minister particularly emphasized the need to ensure quality standards during the execution of the works. The overall position about the delivery of irrigation supplies to the farmers was also reviewed which was observed to be quite satisfactory in keeping with the water availability position. The Minister commended the performance of the department in ensuring water availability at the tail reaches of the system.

The Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I&P also visited the development and O&M works at site. The field visits carried out by Minister for Irrigation, Secretary I & P and other teams to see the status of various works executed and under execution is indicated as under;

Sr. No

Teams

Site of Inspection

1.

Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I & P. Upper Pakpattan Canal MP Link (Site of Breach) and LBDC.

2.

Chief Monitoring Programme Monitoring & Implementation Unit (PMIU). Shujabad Canal Division

3.

Director Vigilance

Mr. Habib Ullah Bodla Director PMIU.
Lower Pakpattan Canal and Khader Branch

4.

Ch. Muhammad Shafi
Consultant PIDA
SMB Link

The Field Officers were directed at site to remove / rectify the deficiencies/short comings observed by the Inspection Teams in the various works immediately 

A press conference was also held in the Canal Rest House Multan by Minister for Irrigation and Secretary I & P in which briefing was given about development activities carried out for improvement of the existing irrigation system of Multan Zone and other achievements especially highlighting equitable distribution of water and feeding of the tails of channels by implementing the new monitoring system of canal operation through PMIU. The briefing also included an overview of the projects envisaged to be implemented in Multan Zone in the subsequent years such as rehabilitation of Sidhnai Canal System, Pakpattan Canal System and Rungpur Canal. The press briefing received wide coverage in the national and local press. All the major newspapers for instance Jang, Nawa-I-Waqat, Khabrain, Pakistan, Ausaf, Express and Islam (Regional daily) covered the press briefing prominently. The news reports gave the details of the Annual Development Programme, Canal remodeling, Digitization of Monitoring System and steps taken to curb water theft.

The Minister also shared the progress of the departmental activities with parliamentarians in a meeting, who also expressed satisfaction over the performance of the Department.


COMPENSATION TO PERSONS AFFECTED BY TAUNSA BARRAGE PROJECT

A news item has appeared in a section of the press highlighting the protest launched by some persons reportedly affected by the Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernizations Project. The news item is misleading and not based on facts.

Built in 1958, Tuansa barrage is one of the most problematic/sick barrages and its safety is at stake. The barrage has been irrigating 1.2 million hectares of fertile land in Southern Punjab. After 55 years of use the Barrage was considered a major risk by the experts of Punjab Government and World Bank. The govt. conducted a feasibility study which was reviewed by a panel of independent international experts. The rehabilitation project has been approved by ECNEC. The project will not only help in alleviating the poverty but will also bring economic and agricultural benefits to the area.

It is hereby clarified that Punjab Irrigation Department disbursed Rs. 22.2 million to the persons affected by Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project. The settlement was done according to the approved Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) which was developed by World Bank expert. At that time all affected persons happy with the terms and conditions of the Resettlement Action Plan.

As many as 160 households have been paid Rs. 9.7 million in the form of cash compensation for losses of the assets. Moreover Rs.12.4 million were spent on infrastructure development which included construction of roads, pavements, community toilets, drainage, raising of ceiling level of affected persons’ houses, electrification, mosque and earth filling etc. Therefore, resettlement in a way has brought about a change for the better in the lives of the affected persons. As part of the resettlement plan more than hundred affected persons have been provided employment at the project.

It is hereby further clarified that these affected persons had developed residences on the land owned by the Irrigation Department, when the project was launched in 2005 the Irrigation Department initiated the compensation of the affected persons according to a mutually agreed formula. All the affected persons were relocated to the govt. land located at a distance of less than half a kilometer from their original settlements.

As regards the water logging issue, it has not been specifically caused by the rehabilitation work. The major reason for water logging is flat terrain and sandy soil resulting in water permeates from off-taking canals at the barrage which is quite natural. Moreover the off-taking channels are non-perennial. There is no bad effect on wheat (Rabi crops). Canal closure is a routine scheduled feature at both crop seasons. The mitigation measures for the last year were adopted in the form of the subsidized wheat seed in district Rajanpur and 252 hand pumps were also installed by Punjab Rural Support Programme to provide drinking water in Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh Districts. Moreover, drinking water has been supplied through newly constructed feeding channel to DG Khan and Rajanpur Districts.

An independent panel of experts will look into environmental and social issues. The process of hiring the services of the experts has already been initialized. It is expected that this panel will be able to convene its meeting within a couple of months.


MEDIA EXPOSURE VISIT TO TAUNSA BARRAGE

The breach in the coffer dam at Taunsa Barrage, which occurred on 15th of January 2007, was completely plugged on 19th of January. The construction work at the Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project has resumed in full speed. The drinking water supplies to the DG Khan Canal were started on the 27th of January, 2007.

I & P Department organized an exposure visit of the print and electronic media representatives to Taunsa Barrage. The objectives of the visit were to show the media the work being carried out under the Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project, to disseminate its long term benefits for the farmers of the region and, more importantly so, to highlight the breach recovery operation and the resumption of work after the plugging of the breach.

More than 40 journalists from satellite and terrestrial TV channels, Radio and all the major national and regional dailies visited the project site. The group comprised the representatives of major TV channels like PTV, ATV, ARY, AAJ, TV TODAY, APNA, RANG, WASEB and KOOK, and reporters from newspapers like Dawn, Daily Times, Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt, Pakistan, Ausaf, Daily Express, Naya Daur, Islam and Insaaf, and staff reporters of major news agencies like AFP, APP, and PPI.

The coffer dam site was shown to the journalists and the entire breach plugging process was explained to them in detail. Later they were shown the work at the gates, barrage glacis and the sub-weir as well. Afterwards, they were taken to the feeding channel where 1400 cusecs of drinking water was being fed into the DG Khan Canal. They were informed that the drinking water supply into the DG Khan Canal was started on the 27th of January 2007.

During the presentation and Questions & Answers session the scope of the entire project, the status of the civil and mechanical works, the breach plugging operation in the upstream coffer dam and the resumption of works after the plugging of the breach were all explained with the help of relevant data and photographs. The visit resulted in comprehensive coverage on Taunsa Barrage remodeling project, with details of its benefits in terms of provision of agricultural water supplies to the 1.75 million acre culturable land in Southern Punjab. Following the visit, the news stories appeared in all the major dailies and Radio and TV channels. The coverage also highlighted the reforms being carried out by I & P Department, particularly the recent steps to redress the complaints of the farmers, curbing water theft and digitization of the canal data. Clippings of the news stories of the visit are placed in Flag - “A”.

Here it is not out of place to mention that a small group of displaced persons took out a procession to register their protest against the displacements caused by the remodeling project. The protestors were informed that a grievances redressal committee has already been looking into their problems and an amount of Rs. 20 million has already been disbursed to the Project Affected persons (PAPs) in the form of house displacement, disturbance allowances and other works e.g. construction of roads, mosques, streets and community toilets etc. The protestors were assured that the committee will look into their grievances if there were any.


PRESS RELEASE REGARDING RESUMPTION WORK AT TAUNSA BARRAGE

It is clarified that contrary to a news item appearing in a section of the press about the recurrence of a breach in Taunsa Barrage embankment, the situation is completely under control and there is no water leakage from the upstream coffer dam, nor is there any threat of the dam being washed away by the river. These reports are not based on facts and are misleading. The fact of the matter is that the breach was completely plugged 3 days ago and afterwards there has been no untoward incidence.

Irrigation Department’s Head Program Management Office, Chief Engineer and construction consultants are constantly on the site and are monitoring the situation very closely. The Department is supervising the construction work to ensure that the scheduled construction targets are met and construction standards are being followed strictly. It is expected that the drinking water supplies will be provided in DG Khan Canal before the promised schedule of 31st of January, 2007.

Irrigation Department’s Head Program Management Office, Chief Engineer and construction consultants are constantly on the site and are monitoring the situation very closely. The Department is supervising the construction work to ensure that the scheduled construction targets are met and construction standards are being followed strictly. It is expected that the drinking water supplies will be provided in DG Khan Canal before the promised schedule of 31st of January, 2007.Irrigation Department’s Head Program Management Office, Chief Engineer and construction consultants are constantly on the site and are monitoring the situation very closely. The Department is supervising the construction work to ensure that the scheduled construction targets are met and construction standards are being followed strictly. It is expected that the drinking water supplies will be provided in DG Khan Canal before the promised schedule of 31st of January, 2007.


PRESS NOTE REGARDING REPAIR OF BREACH AT TAUNSA BARRAGE

The closing operation of the breach in upstream coffer dam at Taunsa Barrage is in full swing and the Irrigation Department engineers, consultants and the Contractor are working round the clock to urgently complete the plugging of the breach.As many as 58 dumpers and 6 loaders are working on emergency basis to plug the breach and around 80 percent stone filling work has been completed and the breach is expected to be completely closed by Friday

A news item has appeared in some sections of the Press on 18th January 2007 that due to a mishap in the Coffer Dam on U/S of Taunsa Barrage, the irrigation supplies to D.G Khan and Muzaffargarh Canals would be delayed by 20 days which would affect 1.7 Million Acres of command area of both the canals damaging the standing wheat crop.It has further been reported that it would result in colossal loss of Power generation aggravating the load shedding situation in the country

It is clarified that Muzaffargarh and DG Khan Canals are basically non-perennial canals. The non-perennial canals normally remain closed during the Rabi season. DG Khan and Muzaffargarh Canals are however generally provided water for wheat sowing and one watering for wheat maturing. In addition, DG KhanCanal is provided some minor flows for drinking water purposes.In keeping with the available water share for Taunsa Canals, a comprehensive Rabi Plan was prepared by the Irrigation Department in close consultation with the Agriculture Department, which was approved by the Punjab Canal Water Advisory Board. The Rabi Plan and the approved canal operations pattern were widely disseminated to the farmers of DG Khan and Muzaffargarh Canal through a comprehensive communication campaign.It is pointed out that both DG Khan and Muzaffargarh Canals were operated for providing canal water supplies for wheat sowing during the period 1st October to 15th October 2006 and then from 9th November to 10th of December 2006 as planned. These canals were closed thereafter to be re-opened in mid February 2007 for one watering for the wheat crop.However 1000 cusecs of water was to flow in DG Khan Canal from 16th to 31st January for drinking purposes.There has been some disruption in availability of the drinking supply due to breach in the Coffer Dam.However this drinking supply would be made available by 31st January 2007, when the breach in coffer Dam is plugged and the conditions return to normal. Likewise irrigation supplies to DG Khan Canal are also likely to resume by the first of March instead of the original schedule of February 2007.

It is further clarified that in order to meet the indents of downstream users and to compensate for Power loss at Chashma and Tarbela due to reduced releases from Tarbela Dam, Punjab raised its indent of releases from Mangla Dam from 16000 to 30000 cusecs. As the situation is returning to normal at Taunsa, the releases from Tarbela and Chashma would be raised accordingly. It is also relevant to mention that the flows at Guddu today were of the order of 40,858 cusecs as against the indent of 28,000 cusecs. Similarly, Irrigation Department is confident that the indent of 43,000 cusecs at Guddu during next five day period would be fully met

It is worthwhile to mention that the Project for Rehabilitation and Modernization of Taunsa Barrage is being implemented at a cost of Rs 11 billion. The main components of work include: civil works for rehabilitation and modernization of the Barrage (Rs 4.7 billion), rehabilitation and up-gradation of gates and hoisting system (Rs 4.4 billion), supervision and administration (0.6 billion) and physical / price contingencies. The Project will ensure safety of the Barrage and also contribute significantly towards providing uninterrupted and improved water supplies to over 1.75 million acres of cultureable commanded area in the less-developed districts of Muzaffargarh, DG Khan and Rajanpur. Taunsa Barrage civil works, which were originally scheduled to be completed in three years, are ahead of schedule by one year. The construction work would resume in about a week’s time and the civil works would be completed within this year with 15-20 days setback in the original schedule. As such, the breach would not materially affect the project implementation. It is also mentioned that the damages due to breach have been minimal and the large scale of damage projected in some new reports are highly exaggerated.

PRESS NOTE REGARDING TAUNSA BARRAGE MISHAP

While the pond level at Taunsa Barrage was being raised to provide drinking water supplies in DG Khan Canal, a breach occurred in the coffer dam upstream of Taunsa Barrage on 15th January 2007 at about 7.00 PM. The field staff and contractor working on the project tried their best to control the situation but could not succeed in controlling the breach from developing. It however provided time for evacuation of the labour and most of the machinery from the working area.

During the emergency situation, Irrigation Department field staff helped the construction staff and engineers to evacuate safely. No casualties have been reported. One excavator, two grouting machines and some water pumps were submerged as result of the breach which would be recovered after dewatering the area.

On receiving the information, the Chief Engineer / Head PMO rushed to the site to join the teams of Irrigation Department, Consultants and Contractors at Taunsa Barrage. They have taken immediate steps for plugging the 90 ft breach in the upstream coffer dam and plans for restoring the work at the earliest are also being prepared. It is hoped that the breach would be closed in the next two days and the rehabilitation work would resume full swing in next 7 to 10 days. The Department has initiated the restoration work on emergent basis to ensure that supply of the drinking water to Rajanpur and DG Khan Districts is started by January 31st, 2007 as against earlier planned schedule of 16th of January, 2007. Likewise irrigation supplies to DG Khan canal are also likely to resume by the first week of March instead of the original schedule of 11th of February, 2007.

The Irrigation & Power Department has also constituted a high-level technical inquiry committee comprising Chief Engineer DG Khan and Chief Engineer Mutlan to investigate the causes of the breach and suggest measures to ensure its safety in future.

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