The replacement of 121-year old Khanki Headwork with state-of-the-art barrage would ensure sustainable irrigation supplies to 3.301 million acres of fertile lands, resulting in 10 percent increase in the crop production downstream Lower Chenab Canal in the Punjab province. On completion, the New Khanki Barrage project would benefit about 568,000 farming families or two million people in eight districts of the province including Gujranwala , Hafizabad, Chiniot, Shaikhpura, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad , Jhang and Toba Tech Singh . The project is being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and will be completed in three years. The financing of the project is part of a $900 million multi-tranche facility that the ADB approved in 2006 for Punjab’s irrigation sector. ”In addition, with the new barrage the flood passage capacity would enhance from 800,000 cusec to 1,100,000 cusec,“ Head Project Management Office for Punjab Barrages and Project Director Syed Mehmood ul Hasan told reporters at the project site. He said that the New Khanki Barrage (NKB) is being constructed at Chenab River , approximately 900 feet downstream of existing headworks and will replace the Khakani headworks. According to estimates, the project would result in 10% increase in the agricultural production over 50000 hacters and 10% increase in farm income. In addition, it would help sustainable improved delivery of services for irrigated agriculture and better water management. The existing shutter type wire of the Khanki headwork, which was constructed back in 1892, is running at high risk and can cause loss of several crop seasons, if failed. The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the New Khanki Barrage Project in 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs 23.5 billion . The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a concessionary loan of $270 million for the construction of the new infrastructure while the Punjab government would share $39 million (13%). After the formal and international standard bidding, the project was contracted to DESCON Engineering Limited and work on it started in July, 2013 which would be completed in October 2016 . The executing agency of the project is Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) through PMO Punjab Barrages. He said that procurement guidelines of ADB are being followed for the project which he said are more rationale and were not in contradiction to local rules. He said that this irrigation project would also help in food security and uplifting farming community of the province. He said that the irrigated land of Punjab contributes 28% of Punjab’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 66% of the national agricultural GDP, employs 54% of the labour force and uses more than 95% of water resources. He said that PID infrastructure has estimated replacement value of $20 billion including 14 barrages, 19 inter-river link canals, 6,429 kilometres of main canals, 31,214 km of distribution and minor canals; more than 58,000 filed outlets, 3228 km of flood protection embankments and 50 small dams.
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