Habib Khan Ghori
KARACHI, September 05, 2011: Chairman of the Monitoring
Committee on Rehabilitation Works on Canals and Dykes Dr
Ahmad Ali Shah on Sunday expressed apprehension about right
bank canals’ capacity to sustain floodwater when it would be
released into the system because of what he called
unsatisfactory repairs carried out since last year floods.
The eight-member committee was constituted by Chief Minister
Syed Qaim Ali Shah on a directive of President Asif Ali
Zardari in December last year to monitor progress and
quality of restoration works of dykes and canals, to
ascertain transparency in award of contracts and to ensure
that specifications given in the contracts were carried out
according to the laid down procedures and requirements.
In response to a question, Dr Shah, a PPP MPA from Naushero
Feroze, told Dawn that the authorities concerned did not
provide details of the repairs to the monitoring committee
and the works carried out remained unexamined.
He said initially water had not been released into the
canals system on the pretext of water shortage but the
authorities might find an excuse for the damages the weak
system cannot sustain with a sudden release of floodwater
into the system following the recent rains.
“We had already informed the chief minister about the
non-cooperation of the authorities,” he said, trying to
absolve the committee of its responsibility about the
quality of work.Replying to another query, he said that
officials who had not been appointed on a merit basis paid
little attention to directions of lawmakers rendering them
ineffective to monitor works and ensure transparency in the
award and execution of contracts.
While elaborating that one could not expect officials to
strictly follow financial discipline and specifications
given in contracts without accountability, he said the 12
officials who had been found responsible for a breach in
Tori Bund last year in an investigation report were yet to
be taken to task. He added that it was a matter of
governance and unless there was a political will to punish
those found responsible for irregularities, others would
continue to defy government instructions.
About a report prepared by the committee on the supervision
of repairs to the dykes and canal breached and damaged by
last year floods, he said the committee had expressed its
reservation on the works carried out on the S.M. Bund at
Village Yar Mohammad Khoso in Matiari and at Bakhri in
Naushahro Feroz, where the apron was washed away by the
receding floods last year.
He added that rehabilitation work on the dykes improved
after anomalies and flaws in the ongoing work had been
pointed out by the com mittee in its initial report.
But the committee refused to own the rehabilitation work on
canals because it found gross discrepancies in the
measurement of breaches throughout the province.
According to a monitoring unit of the National Programme for
Improvement of Watercourses (NPIW), which was given the task
of verifying the breach lengths reported by the irrigation
department, they physically measured 97 per cent of the
breaches and reported a total length of 67.5 miles whereas
the irrigation department had claimed a total length of 368
The committee comprising seven MPAs and one technical member
acquired the services of consultants to ensure quality of
work on dykes according to their specifications.
After inspecting the sites, the committee in its report
stated that chief engineers and sub-engineers did not visit
the area to inspect the progress. According to their
briefings, 80 to 90 per cent works had been completed while
these claims were not substantiated by physical inspection
of these sites, the committee said.
At some places, the contractors were asking for revision of
the schemes indicating that most funds paid for the repairs
had instead been used in commissions, the committee’s report
It added that works being done on the canals were mostly
substandard and being carried out without any supervision.
Engineers or their relatives were contractors.
The report also mentioned that the NITs were mostly
published in less known newspapers, making transparency
Mr Shah said the committee did not compromise on quality of
work as such the works on dykes appeared to be satisfactory.
The report stated that the two areas, which posed serious
threat to the system and required urgent attention of the
authorities concerned, were Village Yar Mohammad Khoso in
Matiari (Mile 167/00, SM Bund) and Bakhri in Naushahro Feroz.
Courtesy: The DAWN