ISLAMABAD -  The funding issue between the federal government and Sindh has finally resolved as the province has agreed to pay Rs7 billion for the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) project.

The Sindh government has agreed to pay 50 percent of the early committed Rs14 billion and now it has been decided to refer the project for the approval of CDWP, official sources told The Nation here on Wednesday. The federal government has agreed to fund the remaining Rs7 billion, the source said.

The RBOD projects are aimed at draining the effluent water from Balochistan and Sindh in the Arabian Sea, to protect contamination of Manchar Lake. The delay in the completion of RBOD-II project is affecting the flora and fauna of Manchar Lake. Beside, the timely completion of RBOD is productive for Sindh as it would save 4.32 million acres of land from water-logging and salinity.

The Sindh government has earlier committed to provide its share of Rs14 billion for completion of flood protection works as part of RBOD-II project to ensure that work done on the project with the federal government funding is not affected during the flood season but later the province was backed out from its commitment and refused to make any funding. Currently, there are three projects in the implementation stage for carrying Balochistan and Sindh disposal into sea. About 90 percent of the work on both RBOD-I and RBOD-III was completed three years ago but since the work had been stopped therefore no money can be spend. Work on RBOD-I and RBOD-III was stalled till the completion of RBOD-II, the source said. The completion deadline of the RBOD-I, II and III projects was increased for fourth time to 2019. An amount of Rs26,713 million will be spent on all the three projects of RBOD till 2019.

The first leg of the project is RBOD-III which will carry Balochistan and Sindh effluent disposal. The project is located in Nasirabad, Jaffarabad districts of Balochistan and Kambar-Shahdad Kot district of Sindh. The project was initiated in 2003 and missed several completion deadlines, however now the government has fixed 2019 a new date of completion.

The second leg is RBOD-I located in Nara desert, district Ghotki and Sukkur Sindh which will be used for the disposal of effluent from the Right Bank Sukkur and Guddu Barrage commands area in Sindh. The project was initiated in 1994 and missed several completion deadlines, however now the government has fixed 2019 a new date of completion.

Similarly, RBOD-II drain will be connected to RBOD-I at Sehwan and will carry the effluent direct to sea at Gharo. The project of 273 Kilometer long RBOD-II was initiated in 2001 and the estimated cost of Rs14 billion, the project was supposed to be completed in 2006 however it was delayed. To carry Balochistan’s wastewater, RBOD-II capacity was revised to 3,525 cusec from 2,271 cusec. The estimated cost was also upward revised to Rs29 billion in 2005 and the completion target was extended to 2008 and then 2014. Now, once again the cost was upward revised to Rs61.985 billion. The RBOD-II project is located in Jamshoro and Thatta Districts of Sindh and is being considered vital for rehabilitation of Manchar, Asia’s largest fresh water lake, which receives contaminated water of the RBOD-I.

The Supreme Court has initiated suo motu proceedings regarding the growing level of contamination in Manchar Lake and the deprivation of the livelihood of the fishermen. The apex court, in a suo motu case concerning Manchar lake contamination due to effluents from the RBOD, has directed the federal and provincial governments to resolve the issue.

It is pertinent to mention here that after due to tussle between the federal and Sindh government on the funding issue of RBOD-II, not a single penny was spend on the project during 2016-17 and all the amount of Rs4.8 billion allocated in PSDP 2016-17 for RBOD-I, II and III was re-appropriated to other projects. The official said that now the main impediment was removed and work on all the three projects of RBOD-I, II and III will resume immediately.