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32 Billion Project still Incomplete in Irrigation Department, Punjab

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Abdul Rahman Khan

Shabbir Haider, SE Panjnad Canal Circle of BWP Zone, whom the Secretary Irrigation Department had assigned additional charge of the post of PD PMO Canal, has allegedly released securities and guarantees to the contractors amounting to Rs560 million without authorization, according to sources.

PD PMO is also handling the leftover works of the LBDC, an Rs32 billion project. Had he continued as PD, he could have released the foreign funding payments, too, claimed an officer. However, when the issue arose, ADB took notice, called on the CM Punjab, and stressed restoring the PD whom Secretary had removed him. The CM directed the restoration of the removed PD Abbasi. However, Haider released securities to the contractors; how he could do so when the department did not finalize projects questioned an officer. He said the department fulfilled the purpose of appointing Haider, a junior officer, to the critical project post. He said that if the Consultant, who is also “The Engineer Charge”, gives a harmful bill, who will be responsible for deterioration? How will the recovery be made?

As per details, the department gave Shabbir Haider SE Panjnad Canal Circle of BWP Zone additional charge of the post of PD PMO Canal, an Asian Development Bank-funded project. The contractor of Package V of the LBDC project was making an effort to release Performance Security, i.e. 10 % of the award amount of the contract and a bank guarantee given him against retention money of 5 % of the paid amount to the contractor. PD Abbasi did not release both securities as the final bill of the project was not submitted by the Consultant, who is also The Engineer Incharge of the project as per the FIDIC Contract. ACE also lodged the FIR against the work of Package V, and its case is still in Court. The department had also notified the Probe Committee on 5th January 2020 to probe the matter regarding non-completion of work etc. However, the report of the committee is yet to be finalized.

Sources also claim that there are more chances that the office may not accept the final bill, and some recoveries will be pointed out in the final bill. Still, the current PD Abbasi will be helpless to make the recoveries as Shabbir Haider has already released a heavy amount. Who will be financially liable for this anomaly, the Secretary, who assigned additional charge of PD to XEN Haider without the approval of the Chief Minister to perform duty some 600 KM away from the office of PMO Canal, Lahore or Haider himself who got this posting without having requisite qualification and experience?
Sources say this illegal order of the department would cost the public kitty about Rs 6 million in the shape of damages which may be claimed by the contractors of JCS Projects. None, including ex-PD Shabbir Haider, present PD Raza Abbasi or department PRO was available to respond to queries on the issue. The JCS is considered the oldest project of Pakistan, envisioned during the British regime in 1898. The department would build this mega project on the east bank of River Jhelum. The assignment, after completion, is estimated to increase production on 78,000-hectare acres in the Khushab and Pind Dadan Khan districts of Punjab.

This 116 KM long central canal and 210 KM distributaries project will cost more than 32 billion (PKR)& will enhance agricultural production on 79,750 ha in Pind Daden Khan and Khushab districts. It would irrigate 170,000 acres of land. In addition to constructing 20 water sewerage reservoirs, the department would install a drip irrigation system on 1941 acres. The project will increase Kharif crop intensity by 50%, improve crop yield and reduce land degradation.

1 thought on “32 Billion Project still Incomplete in Irrigation Department, Punjab”

  1. Mohar lift irrigation project khushab was started in 1993 to irrigate thousands acer arid land.
    In 1999 digging work of canal and labor colony completed 75%, after that no work done.
    There are two lift irrigation projects in district khushab and mianwali.
    Both projects incomplete after 29 years, projects ll irrigate almost 35000 acer arid land.
    In buzdar tenure fresh feasibilty was conducted and allocation of funds for projexts placed in punjab current budget.

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