Committee to examine power plant, gas pipeline projects

Guddu power plant

KARACHI: Indus River Commission (IRC) on Tuesday formed a committee to examine two projects, establishment of a 750 MW power plant at Guddu, and laying of gas pipeline in Indus River.

The committee was formed at a meeting of the IRC held with Provincial Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo in chair.Later briefing the media persons, the minister said that the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and a Chinese company had planned to establish the power plant at Guddu. About gas pipeline project, he said that the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) intends to lay gas pipeline in Indus River.

According to him, initially the IRC had granted permission to the SSGC to place the gas pipeline over the Indus River water. The SSGC have sought permission to cross its gas pipeline into the river from a spot at Mehar, district Dadu.He said that a four-member committee, formed at the meeting, would examine both the projects. The IRC will also have to ensure availability of water required to the power plant. He confirmed that the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has decided to provide water to Islamabad by deducting water share of four provinces. At the same time, he reiterated his demand that similar arrangement be also made for providing water to the Karachi, which is also ‘mini-Pakistan’.

Responding to questions about flood situation during current monsoon the minister said that still no threat of heavy rains or flooding in Sindh prevails. However, he added, nobody can restrain environmental changes, and his department has taken all precautionary measures to face any situation.Sharing some of the details about arrangements made by the Irrigation Department, the minister said that around 76 embankments situated at both banks of the river have been repaired, including sensitive points. According to him, the World Bank experts have also completed study for expanding capacity of the Guddu Barrage, and same was underway on Sukkur Barrage.

Dharejo said that embankments of Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) have been strengthened, and de-slitting of the drain has also been carried out from Nawabshah to Badin for smooth discharge of water into the sea.Responding to a question, the minister admitted that Punjab was still stealing the water of Sindh’s share, and the Sindh government was helpless in this regard.To a question regarding a petition filed in the Lahore High Court for construction of controversial Kalabagh Dam, the minister termed the project as ‘dead horse’, and said that the federal government had clearly announced that it could not be constructed without consent of four provinces.