Punjab canal desliting campaign misses targets

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LAHORE†The canal desliting campaign in Punjab is well short of its target and could not be completed in Mangla command zones as yet, mainly due to a lackluster attitude of staff concerned.

The desilting of canals should have been completed by January 13, 2013 as per schedule, however it is still about 17 per cent short of the target. Only canals in Sargodha zone have been desilted while work in Lahore, Multan and the Lower Bari Doab Canal area is yet to be completed. Canals in Sargodha have been deslited completely only due to revision of the targeted canal length because of dearth of funds.

Progress in Lahore zone has been recorded at about 96 per cent, 80 per cent in Multan and just 62 per cent in the Lower Bari Doab Canal area. An official of the Irrigation Department hoped that desilting work would be completed in Mangla command zones by the end of the current month.

On the other hand, Irrigation Departmentís performance regarding desilting work in Tarbela command zones is not less than pathetic as only about 30 per cent work has been completed. In two zones, including Faisalabad and Dera Ghazi Khan, desilting of canals has yet to be initiated.

Moreover, in Bahawalpur, only about one per cent desilting work has been completed and staff concerned has yet to be fully mobalised. In Multan, staff of the Irrigation Department managed to get only 30 per cent work completed. The Irrigation Department also revised downward the target of desilting in Sargodha due to shortage of funds. In total, only 50 per cent of canal desilting has been completed in both Mangla and Tarbela command zones. As per the Canal Desilting Plan 2012-13, 298 channels are to be desilted with a view to smoothen the flow of water up to tail-end. Under the campaign 1647 canals miles of desilt is to be removed. However, work in 196 canals has been initiated while 967 channels have been desilted.

When contacted, an official of the provincial Irrigation Department said unfavorable weather had been the main reason behind slow progress on the desilting campaign. He added that sub-zero temperature in many areas had hampered desilting of canals as beds of canals remained wet. He said work in Tarbela command zones could be completed by April-end as the canals would be opened after about two months.

It may be noted that the annual desilting campaign is being done at Rs 240 million. Under the plan, 502 lakh cubic feet silt would be removed. The department had announced that the desilting campaign would be completed in two phases and in the first phase, canals flowing from the Mangla Dam would be desilted by January 13 and canals from the Tarbela Dam by January 31.


Courtesy: †The News


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