April 27, 2021 at 5:14 pm
Chitral Times Report
PESHAWAR: Irrigation Department Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has prepared a comprehensive reforms package to streamline its overall business on modern lines with special focus on water resource management, revenue generation, protection of water resources and their efficient utilization. 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 NOC for undertaking the projects and improvement of land leasing process.
This was told in a high level meeting on the reforms of irrigation department held here with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan in the chair. The meeting was given a detailed briefing about the key reforms being introduced in the different sectors of the department alongwith action plan to implement these reforms initiatives. The forum was told that in the past, irrigation department has exclusively focused on infrastructure development and neglected the management of water resources adding that now the department has special focus on the protection of water resources and their efficient utilization adding that an integrated water resource management strategy has been devised for the purpose. “Water Resource Management Authority and Water Resource Commission have also been notified for the implementation of aforesaid strategy”, it was informed.
In order to ensure operational management in an effective manner, survey of irrigation assets was in progress and encroachments were being removed. Similarly, all the completed dams would be linked with their command areas. The authorities informed 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. Besides, efforts were underway for streamlining of “Abyana” and identification of irrigation properties for revenue generation.
The forum 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 the priority whereas under the development management E-inspection was being introduced to ensure 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 (Bajur) 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 meeting was told that, survey for assessment of irrigation department’s properties, and assessment of Chakbandis in urban areas would be completed by the end of current month adding that E-bidding system in the department, development of dams sites as tourists resorts and rehabilitation of historical buildings and other assets were being specially focused.
The forum was further informed that commission and authority had been formally established under Water Act. A detailed survey had also been carried out for the rehabilitation and restoration of Swat and Kabul rivers.
The chief minister on the occasion directed the authorities of irrigation department to adopt realistic timelines towards timely completion of all activities under action plan. He also stressed the need of improving existing irrigation system and better management of water resources under a well devised long term planning.