Management issues: Irrigation department short on engineers as flood season approaches

Five executive engineers have been shuffled from Sukkur barrage in 17 days.

Our Correspondent June 20, 2014
A departmental committee promoted around 70 senior engineers from grade 17 to grade 18 but the SHC stayed the promotions. PHOTO: FILE

SUKKUR: With the flood season approaching fast, the shortage of executive engineers in the irrigation department might make it difficult to manage the overflowing canals and barrages in the coming days.

The recent postings and transfers of five executive engineers at Sukkur Barrage speak volumes of the sorry state of affairs at the irrigation department. The engineers have been posted to and transferred from the Sukkur barrage in the last 17 days of the current month. On the other hand, Guddu and Kotri barrages are in an even worse position as there is no executive engineer to oversee the running of the installation while several engineers now hold multiple charges.

After the former Sukkur barrage executive engineer, Muhammad Murad Mahar, was transferred, a grade-17 officer, Zareef Khero took over the charge. He was, however, transferred hardly a week later. Subsequently, the charge was given to Hyderabad project director, Abdul Rehman Nizamani.

Unfortunately, he too was removed when the chief minister visited Sukkur barrage and discovered that he was not present there. Nizamani had been busy handling a situation in Hyderabad but the honourable chief minister was so irked by his absence that he ordered to suspend him.

The charge was then handed over to Khairpur West executive engineer, Bahadur Ujjan. His posting lasted hardly 24 hours, however, and the charge was yet again transferred to Mirpur Mathelo’s irrigation executive engineer, Abid Naich. He will also look after his former division.

Furthermore, Dad division’s executive engineer, Amjad Memon, is also looking after the charge of three more divisions, including the Kandiaro division, Moro division and the Nusrat division. There is also no executive engineer posted to Warah division, which is being looked after by the superintendent engineer.

According to sources in the irrigation department, the months of June, July and August are very sensitive as the likelihood of floods increases during these months. The department has to release water into the canals according to the indent and due to the absence of executive engineers, junior officers are unable to manage the process properly. Growers have been decrying shortage of water in different places. The government, however, has been neglecting the issue and has posted junior officers on senior posts due political influence.

A meeting of the departmental promotion committee was held two days ago after a lapse of 10 years. The committee promoted around 70 senior engineers from grade 17 to grade 18. The decision was, however, stayed by the Sindh High Court till June 30, as some of the engineers had filed a petition against the promotions.

Sukkur barrage chief engineer Ahmed Junaid Memon, who is also looking after the charge of Larkana, confirmed the shortage of executive engineers. He said that the government has not held a meeting of the DPC since a long time due to which many senior officers are waiting for their promotions. According to Memon, the only solution is to convene a DPC meeting and promote senior engineers so they can take over the charge of these barrages.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2014.


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