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April 28, 2021

Reforms package ready to streamline Irrigation Dept in KP

PESHAWAR: The Irrigation Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has prepared a comprehensive reforms package to streamline its overall business along modern lines with a special focus on water resource management, revenue generation, protection of water resources, and their efficient utilisation.

This was told at a meeting on the reforms of the Irrigation Department held here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair on Tuesday, said an official handout.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing about the key reforms being introduced in the different sectors of the department along with an action plan to implement these reform initiatives.

Key areas of the reforms include legal framework, operational management, human resource development, institutional development and cross-cutting reforms, etc. Under the legal framework, various reforms initiatives have been proposed, including operationalization of water act, enforcement of river protection act, administration of the canal and drainage act, streamlining the issuance of No-Objection Certificate for undertaking the projects and improvement of the land leasing process.

The forum was told that in the past the Irrigation Department has exclusively focused on infrastructure development and neglected the management of water resources, adding that now the department has a special focus on the protection of water resources and their efficient utilization adding that an integrated water resource management strategy has been devised for this purpose.

To ensure operational management in an effective manner, the survey of irrigation assets was in progress and encroachments were being removed. All the completed dams would be linked with their command areas.

The officials said that a mechanism has been devised to ensure efficient utilization of funds allocated for annual desilting of canals adding that installation of Telemetry System in the province was also a part of reforms strategy. The meeting was told that a number of reform initiatives has been proposed for human resource development including hiring of project staff as per policy, streamlining of department examinations, continuous capacity building of professional staff, use of information technology, etc.

Under the Institutional Development, mainstreaming of merged areas would be a priority whereas under the development management e-inspection was being introduced to ensure the quality and quantity of the development projects. Priority mega projects, of merged areas include remodeling and rehabilitation of Bara River Canal (District Khyber), Warsak Left Bank Canal (Mohmand), Jabba Dam (Khyber), Reshagan Dam (Bajaur) and embankment on river Kurram.

Briefing about the action plan to implement the proposed reforms initiatives, it was informed that key reform initiatives with regard to legal framework including operationalization of Water Act, 2020, enforcement of river act and application of canal and drainage act would be completed by the end of June this year.

The chief minister directed the officials of the Irrigation Department to adopt realistic timelines towards timely completion of all activities under action plan. He also stressed the need of improving the existing irrigation system and better management of water resources under a well devised long term planning.