Islamabad: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reform was informed on Thursday that work on the 273km Right Bank Outfall Drain-II (RBOD) would begin soon after the Sindh government’s approval, which was expected in a few days.
The committee was of the view that the project was very important for Sindh as effluents were polluting the Manchar Lake and posing a threat to environment in the adjoining areas.
The Planning Commission secretary told the committee that provincial departments had been taken on board and efforts to resolve the funding issues were under way.
He assured the committee that a way forward would be worked out to amicably resolve the funding matters while working closely with the Sindh government.
He said funds had been released under the Public Sector Development Programme 2016-17 for the project, however, Sindh had not paid its share of Rs14 billion, which was causing delay.
He expressed the hope that the Sindh chief minister would give his approval for the release of money after which work could be started.
He said the federal government was aware of the importance of the project and if it was not completed, it would prove disastrous for the area and trigger health problems.
Giving a briefing on the project, the Sindh irrigation special secretary informed the committee that due to delays, revisions and floods, the cost of the project had increased from Rs14 billion in 2002 to Rs29 billion. The cost has now further escalated to Rs62 billion as per revised estimates.
He said the Sindh government was of the view that all funding for the project would come from the federal government and the provincial government would only bear maintenance costs.
The committee was told that there was no restriction on the RBOD-I and RBOD-III, however, these two drains could not be completed unless the RBOD-II was completed as the two drains would be connected with the latter.
The committee was informed that 83% work had been done on the RBOD-I and 75% on the RBOD-III, however, the remaining work could not be completed as no amount was released by the federal government.
Committee Chairman Senator Colonel (Retired) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi directed the Planning Commission to expedite the release of funds so that the project was completed timely.
The committee was also briefed on the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) and the status of Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV and K-III) and Greater Karachi Sewerage Plants (S-III).