Karachi: Minister Planning & Development Mohammad Younus Dagha directed the Irrigation Department Secretary to prepare plans to reduce the risks to the structure of the Sukkur Barrage, the flooding of cities and villages on the right bank of River Indus and to rehabilitate Manchhar Lake.

The directives were issued in the meeting attended by the Chairman P&D Syed Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Irrigation, and engineers and other officials of Sindh irrigation department . 

The Secretary Irrigation briefed on the progress of Right Bank Outfall Drainage (RBOD) project. It was informed that RBOD continues to be a sick project and the toxic affluent of the right bank irrigation continues to be discharged in the Manchhar Lake. The meeting was informed that there is no project/plan presently under execution which could improve the situation. The department’s reps gave some ideas which could improve the quality of affluent in the MNV drain before it is discharged into the Manchhar Lake. 

On another quarry the meeting was informed that even if the RBOD project is completed, it will not help the flooding of Right Bank which includes the districts of Kambar-Shahdadkot, Larkana, Dadu and Jamshoro. These areas which were severely affected during the floods of 2011 and 2022 will continue to remain vulnerable unless some schemes are undertaken to divide the flood planes into various zones with independent discharge systems into the river.

It was also informed that any repeat episode of 2011 super-floods can threaten the stability of the structure of Sukkur barrage unless some scheme is made and implemented to safely divert excessive water into the Nara desert. 

Minister Dagha directed the Irrigation department to take urgent steps to prepare plans for: (i) revision and reactivation of RBOD project which ensures rehabilitation of Manchhar lake, (ii) flood water drainage channel to divert the water in the upper right bank region directly into the Indus River and (iii) escape channel upstream Sukkur Barrage to divert flood water into the Nara desert. These schemes are critical to avoid losses to the households, agriculture, and the infrastructure amounting to trillions of rupees after every few years. Dagha said the province of Sindh is the most vulnerable to the effects of the Climate Change and we need to take immediate steps with sustained efforts to make our infrastructure more resilient.