President Zardari is reported to have urged visiting British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to send a team of experts to see what improvements could be made in the (Sukkur) barrage to enable it to withstand the onslaught and minimise the adverse impact of such floods in the future... As a former irrigation engineer I was surprised at the request. I designed Taunsa Barrage and later operated Jinnah Barrage in early 1950s. Both Kotri and Guddu barrages were built by our own engineers. But first about the barrage Sukkur Barrage on the Indus, built in 1932, is the worlds greatest and unique. It feeds seven large canals designed to draw 48,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of discharge. They irrigate 7.5 million acres of crop land which was once but a desert region in central Sindh. I was happy to note that the eighty years old barrage safely passed more than the design flood of 1.2 million cusecs recently without any structural damage per se. A breach in the earthen Tori bund was allegedly caused by influential politicians to save their lands and property. It should call for a judicial inquiry. Mr Zardari must have been misinformed by his technical advisors to ask for UK experts, who would any way cost millions. No doubt Sukkur Barrage was built by British engineers. But as no British engineers have since built anywhere such a large barrage no UK experts may be of help, if at all improvement is needed. On the contrary Sindh Irrigation Department has the experience of maintenance, repair and operation of Sukkur Barrage for four scores of years. No one could match their experience. Moreover we have veteran engineers who were associated with Sukkur and other barrages like Illahi Bakhash Soomro, Abdul Wahab Shaikh, Taj Mohammad and Rashid Shaikh et al. They could be of help for improvement of the Barrage if necessary. To conclude I may urge upon the powers that be to get rid of the dope of foreign aid/loans, at least in the field of irrigation engineering. No foreign engineers can match our expertise. The government should encourage and depend upon on our own professionals and thus save millions. BASHIR A. MALIK ALI, Lahore, September 29.