LAHORE  -    DESCON will handover New Khanki Barrage to the Punjab Irrigation Department on completion of warranty period in June this year.

Though Irrigation Department is operating the Barrage to cope with water needs of eight districts since its completion in August 2017 within stipulated time period of 50 months despite 2014 floods, presence of contractor is still there to cope with any difficulty during the warranty period.

After expiry of warranty period and formal inauguration of New Khanki Barrage next month, even minimal presence of DESCON in the shape of 40 engineers and allied staff will cease to exist.

The project completed at a hefty cost of Rs21.3 billion, 87 per cent funding by the Asian Development Bank and remaining 13 per cent by the Punjab government, is unique in the sense that it is the first and only barrage constructed since independence. The previous projects were just rehabilitation/remodeling of existing structures. In this case, completely new barrage has been erected that followed by dismantling of 125 years old existing structure. The project is part of the second tranche of the Asian Development Bank (ADB’s) $700 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Investment Program.

The life of the new barrage, constructed at 900 feet downstream of the old one on Chenab River, is 150 years and it will ensure safe passage of floods up to 1,100,000 cusecs.

New barrage has two abutments, 62 piers and a new head regulator, one road bridge and two divider walls along with ladders for fish migration. The guide banks had been constructed by 2,000 metres on right and 1,200 meters on left along with four sloping studs to the left of the barrage to protect the river banks from erosion.

The entire system can be operated from a central control room. Unlike the previous system of operating shutters manually, hydraulic gates can be operated by just pressing a button from the control room. Approximately, 35 kilometres existing approach roads have also been upgraded.

New Khanki Barrage will divert 11,653 cusecs of sustainable irrigation supplies to the downstream lower Chenab Canal. The irrigation distribution system has already been remodeled for additional flows.

The barrage will ensure sustainable irrigation of 3.03 million acres of fertile land in eight districts of central Punjab - Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahid, Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot and Toba Tek Singh. The project will benefit about 568,000 farming families and reduce flooding risks from once in 50 years to once in 100 years.

Talking to a group of journalists during their visit to the newly completed barrage, Project Manager DESCON Sheikh Anees said that technology was developed to ensure not stopping water even for a single day during the construction.

He said that the mega project has been completed within stipulated time period despite high floods in 2014. He said that the new barrage was at par with any state of the art such structure in the world. He said that position of hydraulic gates could be changed within minutes by pressing a button from the control room. He said that there was a mechanism to monitor flows round the clock. At 125 year old structure dismantled after completion of the new one, he said, British-era shutters were operated manually. He said it took days to the workers to change position of gates. “Now all can be done within minutes by just pressing a button”, he said.

DESCON is Pakistan’s only company ranked among top 250 contractors in the world. Besides Pakistan, it is operating in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Egypt. The company is working in diversified sectors such as oil & gas, power, fertilizer, chemical/petrochemical, cement, infrastructures, water & desalination and heavy lifts.

Prior to New Khanki Barrage, DESCON has executed big projects like Mangla Dam Raising, Mirani Dam, Satpara Dam, Motorway (M-1), Taunsa Barrage, Kachhi Canal Project KC-3, Rainee Canal RC-4, Ranolia Hydropower and Jinnah Barrage.