Amid forecast of heavy rains this year, Sindh government lags behind in establishing centre for planning, monitoring and evaluation to be established in Irrigation and Power Department.
Similarly, the feasibility study identifying the route to divert the excessive flood water along river Indus was also delayed and is now expected to be completed in 2013 if ever undertaken.
According to the budget document, the Sindh government in February 2012 approved a scheme for establishing a centre for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation under administrative control of the Irrigation and Power Department. The project cost was estimated to be 50 billion rupees but till June 2012, the estimated expenditure was only 14 million rupees and it was expected that by end of June 2013, only 29 per cent financial progress is expected and project is now expected to be completed by June 2014.
Likewise, Sindh government had decided to undertake a Feasibility Study identifying the route to divert the excessive floodwater along river Indus. The project was approved in November 2011 and was expected to be completed by 2012-13 with an estimated cost of rupees 49.27 millions but again the study was yet to commence.
Sindh Finance Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, in his budget speech on Monday said that Rs2.3 billion have been allocated for restoration/rehabilitation of LBOD and Kotri Drainage Network System including activation of natural drains which are called Dhoras.
Improving water management practices is key to Sindh’s survival. As a lower riparian, water conservation and progressive water practices are pre-requisites. The focus on funding in irrigation sector is reflective of this realisation which led to a proposed allocation of Rs7.5 billion for the water and drainage sector in 2012-13 which is almost twice the ADP allocation of FY 2011-12 and nine times of the allocation in 2007-8, Murad Ali Shah claimed in his budget speech.
Sindh Flood Emergency Reconstruction Project for Bunds and Canals will be also undertaken at a cost of Rs400 million, he told the house.
With rainwater still standing in the fields and continuing rhetoric by ministers and top administrative officials about plans and preparations to face expected very heavy rainfall in coming monsoon, agriculturists and environmentalists fear that all these figures would wash away as usual.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.
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