LAHORE – The Wapda Friday initiated Muzaffargarh Canal Lining Project to control water logging in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province.

Lining of Muzaffargarh Canal and other remedial measures are scheduled to be completed in two years with an estimated cost of Rs 8.66 billion.

Groundbreaking of the project was jointly performed by the former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Shah was also present on the occasion.

Addressing on the occasion, the Foreign Minister said that the project will significantly contribute towards socio-economic uplift of the people by boosting agriculture and reducing poverty in the area. Counting on the advantages, she said that annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs. 1.68 billion.

The twin menaces of water logging and salinity have been on the rise in Muzaffargarh district due to excessive seepage from Muzaffargarh and Taunsa-Panjnad Link canals since completion of Taunsa Barrage in 1958, depriving the people of their cultivable land.

Earlier, Wapda Chairman briefed that the project is of immense importance for agriculture development in the country, as it will help reclaim about 400,000 acres of land for cultivation in Kot Addu and Muzaffargarh. Dilating upon the salient features, he said that the project comprises of concrete lining of 63-kilometer long Muzaffargarh Canal, construction of 110-kilometer long new drains, rehabilitation of allied structures as well as construction of 50 new bridges.

The project has been bifurcated in six contracts, so as to complete it in the shortest possible time by carrying out work on all the contracts simultaneously, he added. The Chairman said that the project will also be instrumental in bringing additional land under cultivation, as more water will be made available for irrigation due to control of seepage from the two canals.