The Sindh government has asked experts to recommend a way forward for K-IV, a project to bring extra water supplies to Karachi, now that an independent consultant has checked its design and pointed out flaws.
The K-IV is the fourth of big infrastructure projects to bring 650mgd of water to Karachi from Kinjhar Lake given that the city’s population is growing. The canal was planned in 2002 but by 2018 the chief minister sent the drawings to National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) for “third party vetting”.
By last month, Nespak returned with its design review and the Sindh government formed two technical committees to comb through the findings.
Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah issued a notification on a 10-member “technical committee” whose job is to scrutinize the Nespak report, find a way forward and recommend technically viable solutions. The committee will send its findings to the KWSB and once they are approved the recommendations will go to the Sindh government.
The committee’s members are: the secretary for local government (chairman), special secretary (Technical) of the local government department, the KWSB managing director, K-IV’s project director, the project director for the Karachi Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project, Brigadier Kazi Nasir Mehmood of the 5 Corps, representatives from the Sindh irrigation department, a representative from NED University of Engineering & Technology, a representative from Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro and any other expert as a co-opted member from a government or private organisation.
The chairman of the technical committee then formed a seven-member sub-committee to review the Nespak design review. This sub-committee includes the water board’s MD as chairman, local government special secretary (technical), Shafqat Hussain (chief engineer from the irrigation department), Preetum Das (superintendent engineer, irrigation department), a representative of NED, Dr Kamran Ansari (of Mehran University) and Iftikhar Ali Shah (superintendent engineer K-IV) as secretary. The sub-committee will evaluate the review and coordinate between the two consultants (Nespak and Osmani that designed K-IV). It has a deadline of November 22.
Osmani said it did not want superintendent engineer K-IV Iftikhar Ali Shah on the sub-committee.
On November 1, Osmani’s senior executive director Syed Haider Abbas Zaidi wrote to the secretary of local government, Roshan Ali Shaikh, saying that they did not want people without the design qualification and experience on the sub-committee, specifically Project Manager (Civil) K-IV Project Iftikhar Shah.
Osmani maintained that Iftikhar Shah did not appear to have any design experience in canals, hydraulics, hydrology etc. As K-IV project manager for civil works and the person who was supposed to coordinate the vetting, he did not properly brief the vetting consultant (Nespak) or keep the design consultants (Osmani) in the loop while Nespak was preparing its findings. It felt he conveyed incomplete information on some specific aspects of the design.
Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh found Osmani’s reservations valid and issued a notification taking Iftikhar Shah’s name off the sub-committee.