KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that the federal government was not interested in the development of Sindh, which is evident from the fact that almost all federally-funded projects in Sindh province have either been abandoned or but on the back burner.
In this state of affairs, the province is left with no options but to raise voice at appropriate forums in the first phase and then the options were open to stage protests in the assemblies.
He said this while presiding over a meeting to review the progress of Nai Gaj Dam, Darawat Dam and rehabilitation of Sukkur Barrage. The meeting was attended by Member ECNEC Nisar Khuhro, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, P&D Chairman Mohammad Waseem, Special Assistant to CM on Irrigation Ashfaq Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Special Secretary Agriculture Shakeel Shaikh, Special Secretary Irrigation Aslam Ansari and other concerned officers.
The chief minister said that the federal government has taken out the important project of Sukkur Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernisation from PSDP and surrendered its Rs100 million to Ministry of Planning and Reforms which was injustice with the people of Sindh.
“Sukkur Barrage is the lifeline of our agro-economy and the provincial government had got approved from the federal government after hectic efforts,” he lamented.
P&D Chairman Mohammad Waseem told the chief minister that he had conveyed annoyance of the chief minister to the federal government and now they have sent a letter to him for readjustment of the Sukkur Barrage scheme.
Shah took up another scheme of Nai Gaj and said it was launched by the federal government for Rs16.9 billion in 2009 with the objective to conserve water resources for the irrigated agriculture development, protection from flood waters and hydropower generation. The construction of the dam was for the arrest of flood water flowing through Nai Gaj Hill torrent so that 22,962 hectares land could be irrigated.
He said that in 2009, the cost of the project was Rs16.924 billion in which Rs1.56 billion was the provincial government’s share for the rehabilitation component. The scheme was revised in 2012 at a cost of Rs26.23 billion in which the provincial government’s share was fixed at Rs1.89 billion. The second revision was made in January 2019 for Rs41.79 billion and now the federal government was asking the Sindh government to pay Rs22 billion share, he added. “This is not possible for us and we are of the view that federal government must complete its projects it has launched in Sindh,” he further said.
He urged Nisar Khuhro who is Sindh’s ECNEC member to discuss the issue in the ECNEC meeting to be held in Islamabad on January 23. “Our stance is very clear and conveys them frankly,” he said.
It may be noted that Nai Gaj project is located in District Jamshoro and it flows from Hill and drains out in Manchhar Lake after flowing through the arid zone of Kachho area. Another project discussed in the meeting was Drawat Dam project. This project is located in a concrete Gravity Dam across Nai Baran River near Jhangri village of Taluka Thano Bolakhan, District Jamshoro. The federal government had launched this project for Rs3.17 billion in 2010 for storage of 150 million cubic metres of water to irrigate 10,000 hectares. Its completion date was August 2014.
CM Murad said that the second revised cost of the project stood at Rs11.7 billion but the project is yet to be completed. “This slow pace shows that federal government is not serious to complete its projects in Sindh,” he said.
The chief minister said that the other slow-moving projects were RBOD-I & II and Rainee Canal. He also said that the federal government should allocate 1200 cusecs (650 mgd) additional water for Karachi city.