KARACHI: Sindh and Punjab were involved in a dispute over the construction of Jalalpur Irrigation Canal.The dispute has arisen between the government of Sindh and the government of Punjab over the...
KARACHI: Sindh and Punjab were involved in a dispute over the construction of Jalalpur Irrigation Canal.
The dispute has arisen between the government of Sindh and the government of Punjab over the construction of Jalalpur Irrigation Canal, which is being constructed to irrigate 160,000 acres of Punjab province.
Due to the Sindh government’s strong opposition to the project, the matter has now been sent to the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives has prepared a summary for the Council of Common Interests and sent its copies to the irrigation departments of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so they can present their point of view on this project in the upcoming meeting of the CCI.
The summary sent by the Planning Ministry stated that the Punjab government has proposed this project be constructed on the right bank of Jalalpur Canal, Jhelum River, and Rasool Barrage in district Khushab to irrigate 160,000 acres of barren land.
The summary added that this canal will need 0.410 million acre feet (MAF) of water, which the Punjab government will provide from its own share. It also said that the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved this project on February 7, 2018, while the opinion of the Planning Commission and NOC of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) were also included in PC-1 of the project.
According to paragraph 14 (d) of the Water Accord of 1991, the NOCs had also been taken from Bahawalpur chief engineer and Bahawalnagar Area Water Board. The representatives of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were also included in the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
The summary further said the Sindh government objected to the project on the basis that if additional water is available, it will come under the jurisdiction of IRSA under para 13 of the 1991 Water Accord, that is why the issue has been sent to the CCI.
Sindh Irrigation Department’s Special Secretary Jamaluddin Mangan, when contacted, he told ‘The News’ that under the 1991 Water Accord, even if there is water in all the rivers round the year, the Punjab government will not have enough water to provide for the new canal.
He said since the 1991 Accord under para 2, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have not received their due share of water to date and by getting more water, Punjab would provide less water to Sindh and Balochistan.
He further said there is a shortage of water in Sindh and Balochistan, while Punjab has always received its complete share of water, so the question arises how it will reduce its share of water for the Jalalpur Canal. “We raised an objection and this matter has reached the Council of Common Interests (CCI),” he added.
Earlier, during the construction of Chashma-Jhelum link canal, it was settled that it would be a flood canal and the Punjab irrigation department had also agreed that it would be opened only during the flood season, but later Punjab operated the Chashma-Jhelum link canal as a regular canal throughout the year and the situation also remained same at the time of the construction of Thal Canal. Due to this, Sindh and other provinces no longer trust the Punjab irrigation department.