PESHAWAR  – The government is mulling to start work on multifaceted Chesma Right Bank Ist Lift Canal Project that will irrigate more than 286,000 acres arid and semi arid lands of DI Khan and Tank districts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

To accelerate the pace of development and bring maximum land under cultivation and vegetative cover in southern districts of KP, the Government is considering to execute work on this mega irrigation project soon with a prime objective to get autarky in food and give further boost to agriculture sector in DI Khan and Tank district, official sources told APP.

Its feasibility studies have been completed and donor agencies are being approached for financial assistance.  The World Bank had earlier pledged to extend its services to materialize the project that went into cold storage owing to constraints of funds.

To start work on 117.48 kilometer long CRBC Ist Lift Project, the KP  government has termed it of vital significance for progress of DI Khan and Tank districts and approached to concerned quarters for allocation of maximum funds keeping in view its financial constraints.

The government will provide foolproof security to staff, who will work  on the project, he added.  Also, the project would ensure due share of perennial water of the province in accordance with the Water Apportionment Accord 1991.

 To turn 286,000 acres barren land of Dera Ismail Khan's lush green, the KP government has also taken up the matter at the Planning Commission with an objective to take all the stakeholders on-board to address its economic, financing and engineering issues.

 The 117.48 kilometer long project would be constructed on Chashma Barrage and initially its estimated cost in 2008 was Rs 61.06678 that now increased manifolds.  Apart from 64 feet Lift inward, the discharge efficiency of the canal is 2,533 cusec and annual projected benefit is about Rs 9,078 million besides Rs 1255.808 million Operational and Maintenance Cost (OMC) in 2008.

 The major irrigation plan of the province is described to be responsible for the incremental crops production of 2.284 metric ton in addition to creating employment opportunities to more than 800 people in construction and 582 persons in Operational and Maintenance phase.  With completion of the project, as many as 33,000 people associated with agriculture sector would be directly benefited.  The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) had already approved this plan.

   Ex Federal Minister for Tourism, Maulana Ataur Rehman MNA told APP that construction of the CRBC Ist Lift Canal was the need of the hour and will bring progress and prosperity in the southern districts.

 He expressed the hope the government will take keen interest in early execution of the project keeping in view its vital importance for agriculture, social and economic fronts.

 The JUI-F leader said its feasibility study has already been completed and now focus should be made on early start of construction work.

 Mualana Ataur Rehman said the construction of Chesma Right Bank Canal would help get autarky in food and that wheat would not be imported from other provinces or abroad to Khyber Pakthunkhwa. He said only the wheat of DI Khan would be sufficient for people of this province once the project was completed.