Altaf Hamid Rao
Punjab CM inaugurates project of revival of upper Jhelum canal in quake-hit Mirpur AJK
MIRPUR (Parliament Times): Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Wednesday said that hearts of the people of Pakistan and Kashmir beat in unison and Pakistan will not ever leave people of Jammu & Kashmir alone in their just and principled struggle for right to self determination.
He was addressing a ceremony at adjoining village Bong, Khari Sharif inaugurating the phased-project of restoration of upper Jhelum canal, damaged by the recent devastating earthquake in Mirpur, Azad Jammu Kashmir on Wednesday.
The Punjab CM continued that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan fought the case of Kashmiris through his bold and courageous address in the United Nations General Assembly – which is the manifestation of Pakistan’s everlasting, unequivocal moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris struggle for their birth right to self determination, he added.
Buzdar that it was ample proof of the fact that hearts of the people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir beat in unison.
He further said that the historical address of Imran Khan to the UN General Assembly raised the significance of early peaceful solution of Kashmir issue the world over. Pakistan will continue raising the Kashmir question across the global until Kashmiris were granted their internationally-acknowledged right to decide about their destiny in line with the UN resolutions, he added.
Buzdar earlier inaugurated the project at Baang Khari Shareef, about 20 km from Mirpur city. The project to restore the ancient canal after hectic two-week long repair work of the canal damaged in September 24 devastating earthquake in Mirpur and adjoining areas.
The canal revival project will lead to irrigate 5.40 lakh acre of agricultural land in seven districts of Punjab including adjoining district of Gujrat and Manda Bahawaldin in the first phase. And in second phase, uninterrupted supply of the canal water to irrigate lands in rest of six districts of Punjab including Gujrawnwala, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Nankana sahib Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh will be ensure in the second phase of the project.
Besides senior officials of Mirpur division and district administration including Divisional Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb, DIG Police Mirpur Division Sardar Gulfraz Khan, DC Mirpur Tahir Mumtaz, senior officials of AJK and Punjab government and the notables of the area were also present on this occasion.
Secretary Irrigation Department Saif Anjum, while apprising the audience of the upper Jhelum canal’s revival project, said that the September 24 devastating earthquake measuring 5.6 at Richter scale in Mirpur and the adjoining areas caused breach in the canal emerging from the water of Mangla dam inundating scores of the adjoining quake-hit villages. He said that the irrigation department immediately chocked the canal five minutes after the deadly earthquake. “Had the water flow in the canal was not closed, there would have been colossal loss of men and material following inundation of the huge area in the breached canal water”, he underlined.
The Secretary Irrigation said that the first phase of the revival of the canal project for supply of four thousand cusecs of water has so far been completed.
It was further told in the briefing that the canal’s wall measuring 37 thousand RFT from Head Bong to Jatlaan town was damaged in the catestrophe, which was repaired in a short span of only two weeks soon after the calamity.
Speaking on this occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said that the affected portion of the ancient upper Jhelum canal of national significance has been restored within a short span of a couple of weeks. He underlined that he himself thoroughly witnessed the destructions in the area during his whirl-wind visit to the quake hit-area soon after the calamity. He said that besides the canal, five bridges over the canal linking the population of its either side were also damaged in the earthquake which are also going to be repaired and restored for the light traffic including the pedestrians.
Highlighting the significance of the100 years old upper Jhelum canal, the Punjab Chief Minister said that the ancient canal was directly irrigating seven district of the Punjab province. He lauded the Punjab Irrigation Department for their vibrant role to restore the damaged canal in shortest possible time.
Buzdar directed the provincial irrigation department for the timely completion of second phase of the project to ensure the uninterrupted supply of water to irrigate 18 lakh acres of the agricultural lands in about six districts of the province.
The Chief minister said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has also announced the relief package for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the population in quake-stricken zone by visiting the calamity-hit Mirpur soon after the tragedy besides expressing sympathies and solidarity with the victims.
Buzdar also lauded the role of the AJK government, NGOs and philanthropists for their remarkable role in rescue and relief operations to bring the life back to normal in quake-stricken areas of Mirpur city and much affected areas in its outskirts.
He gave away certificates and shields to the employees of the provincial irrigation department in acknowledgement of their outstanding performance for canal revival project.