LAHORE: The work of construction and rehabilitation on Qutab drain in district Rajanpur has stopped due to a shortage of funds whereas the project was aimed to save the soil from erosion and to save the attached areas of district Rajanpur from flood and its damages, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, “In order to save the soil from erosion and to save the attached areas from flood and its damages a project titled ‘Construction and Rehabilitation of Qutab Drain in District Rajanpur’ was approved by secretary Irrigation, Government of Punjab on January 29, 2018, with a cost of Rs3620.171 million having ADP number as 5012. The basic purpose of this drain was to control the flood in DG Khan and Rajanpur areas by guiding the surplus water of river Sindh. It was also aimed that the project will also helpful in providing the water for cropping and irrigation purposes in barani areas of Rajanpur, Kashmor and Katcha”.
“The total length of this drain is 290000ft (88.392 Km) and bed width is 200ft (61m). The drain is very vital as it will save 5.10 lacs population from the disaster of a flood. It will also save 256324 acres of land area from inundation. There would be 29 watercourses will come from this drain that will irrigate a lot of land of Rajanpur and adjacent areas. As per PC-I the start date of this project was February 13, 2018, and the end date of the project will be June 30, 2020,” sources further added.
Sources further informed, “At the project site only cutting and filling work has done. Out of 88.392Km drain cutting work of around 66.5Km drain has completed and 22.5Km length of the drain is still missing. The financial progress of the project is only 25.22 per cent while against that progress the physical progress is around 57 per cent which means the contractor did more work than the payment. Therefore, there are also the liabilities of the contractor over the department. As the Monsoon season will start from June and will end in mid-September and this season would be dangerous for these areas as previously flood struck these areas and damaged a lot of area of these regions.”
“The work on site has stopped due to improper funding as the total cost of the project as per the original PCI was Rs3620.171 million while funds utilised was Rs921.583 million. The estimated remaining funds required to complete the project are Rs2732.73 million,” they said.
While expressing their grief over the situation, sources said, “The risk of insufficient funds to complete the project well before monsoon season is alarming. This may lead to damage the area with a flood as according to weather forecasting of weather department, there would be a high level of rains during this monsoon season in all over Pakistan. The construction work was carried out in patches. However, 22.5Km of drain cutting work was left and after that finishing of the drain has to be completed. If the project will not be completed well before the monsoon season then all the completed work would go in vain due to the flow of water or may be due to flood. There is a barani area attached with this drain, therefore, this drain should be completed on fast track and then the project should be extended to construct the ponds in barani areas adjacent to this drain. This will help the landlords to crop their lands and it would also improve the lifestyle of people. The new government should think about this issue and funds must release the funds on time for the completion of this project”.
While talking to Pakistan Today, the Xen Jampur Construction Division Rajanpur, Engineer Faisal Mushtaq said, “The project is facing the shortage of funds. Till date, the government has released only 30 per cent of the total funds for the project and we cannot complete the project on time in this situation.”