Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah was informed Monday that rehabilitation of Sukkur Barrage would cost Rs25,000 million to the government while a new barrage would cost around Rs100,000 million.
Shah was getting a briefing by Irrigation Secretary Zaheer Haider Shah on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Sukkur Barrage at the Chief Minister’s House.
The secretary said Sukkur Barrage was constructed on River Indus in 1923-32 and sedimentation problems started developing within two years of construction. He said the permanent closure of 10 gates had formed an island and a submerged weir that had reduced the flood capacity of the barrage from 1.5 million cusescs to 900,000 million cusescs.
The secretary said all the gates were replaced between 1986 and 1992 and emergency repairs were carried out in 2004 when a large scour hole developed in the right pocket.
To a question of the chief minister regarding the findings of the feasibility study, the secretary said that all the gates of the barrage were in good condition except for the five which needed to be replaced. “Its pond level and freeboard below the gates also required to be increased. This would help open the gates to their maximum level,” he added.
The secretary said that electrical work of the barrage needed to be replaced with a modern monitoring and control room.
Talking about the risk of failure for the existing barrage, the secretary said the floods of 2010 passed with freeboard margin of just about two feet when the gates were opened completely. During high floods, only 27 of the 66 barrage gates remained active causing risky flow concentration in the central left part of the barrage.
He said 10 gates of the barrage were closed permanently between 1938 and 1946 and as a result an island developed in front of the closed gates. He further said that the limited capacity for flood access into the left and right pockets restricted 12 more gates in passing of flood to their full capacity.
Replying to another question, the secretary said that rehabilitation of the barrage which included repairs of canal head regulators, right pocket river training works, fish-pass and overflow weir in span 59, dredging works, electrical works, modernaisation of monitoring and control instruments, construction of new buildings for monitoring, control system, laboratory, workshops and other buildings would cost Rs 25,000 million.
The chief minister was informed that construction of a new barrage with the same dimensions as the existing barrage would cost Rs 100,000 million and might take up to 12 years.