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Monday, August 31, 2009

Sukkur Barrage Golden Jubilee 1932-1982 (July 17, 1982)

Sukkur Barrage has the distinction of being the first major hydraulic structure on the river Indus. In its concept dimensions and scope the Sukkur Barrage remains unique even after 50 years of its completion. It services approximately 25% of the 320 million acres of cultivable land under canal irrigation in Pakistan, and provides food and fiber to millions of people residing in the lower Indus Basin.
The idea of Sukkur Barrage was first conceived in 1868. Later in 1903 a proposal was made to construct a weir across the river Indus at Sukkur, but it was not considered necessary at that time. It was in March 1908, however, that the then Bombay Govern-ment on the recommendations of an Experts’ Committee ordered the preparation of plans and estimates for a Barrage at Sukkur.
The Sukkur Barrage and the Canal Project as they exist today were finally sanctioned on 9th June 1923. The work on this project was started on 1st July 1923. Construction of the canals started in January 1925 and that of the lied Works was taken up in October 1929. The canals were opened on 13th January 1932 to provide assured irrigation to an area of 76 million acres. The seven major canals with a discharge-carrying capacity from 2000 to 16000 cusecs have been instrumental in bringing prosperity to the Province of Sind. The cultivated area being serviced by the Sukkur Barrage today is about 18% more than the area for which the Barrage was originally designed. The Sukkur Barrage and its allied works have brought about revolutionary changes in flora and fauna in the Province of Sind. The landscape in the river basin has changed from scorching arid land into well-spread green farms with the farming community organising itself into permanent settlements. The benefits derived from this project have been enormous. The Sind Government was in a position to repay the loans obtained for the construction of the Barrage from the Central Government about 10 years earlier than scheduled. It can, therefore, be said that land of the Province of Sind owes its fertility to the Sukkur Barrage which celebrated its Golden Jubilee on 30 March 1982.
Pakistan Post Office is issuing a special postage stamp of the denomination of Re. 1 on 17 July 1982 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Sukkur Barrage.