News and Current Affairs

Tackling Pakistan’s Agricultural Issue The Jalalpur Irrigation Project

Dec 27, 2019

Pakistan is one of those countries on the world map that grows in population exponentially – year on year. Nobody knows where the institution responsible for looking after population control, and planning and development is. Also, more people mean more challenges; including a heightened demand for sustenance and shelter.

Amidst all this, the PTI government is set to announce a $275 million irrigation project called the Jalalpur Irrigation Project along the banks of river Jhelum. This is certainly a move in the right direction as the province of Punjab is rife with untapped natural resources. 

Helping Pakistan Grow and Sustain

The inauguration ceremony takes place on the 28th of December, in the presence of political leaders. Funded by the Asian Development Bank, the project is estimated to cost $275 million. It will render irrigation facilities to the locals and loos set to dramatically increase agricultural production on more than 250,000 acres of land in Jhelum and its surrounding districts.

The canals will be spread over 200 kilometers; starting from the right bank of Rasul barrage. Pakistan agreed upon reasonable terms with the Asian Development Bank; with the bank giving Pakistan a period of 20 years for the repayment of loan. The aforementioned funds will also be used to introduce reforms in the agricultural sector and expose farmers to modern methods of agriculture.

Experts agree that the ground-breaking project will increase the crop production in the area by 50pc, and vastly reduce land degradation – thereby, helping close to 300,000 locals. Furthermore, safe drinking water will also be supplied to 26 villages.

And Food For All

The J.I.P is the most viable solution to the growing food scarcity, as well as improving economic growth and addressing poverty in the adjoining areas. The project is seen by many as a wind of positive change for the people living near.

According to Punjab’s Irrigation Minister Mohsin Leghari, “Every drop of water will add to the income of poor farming families as well as contribute to both provincial and national GDP.”

A Century Old Dream Coming to Life

Surprisingly, the project was conceived more than a century ago, with logs showing that it had been in development hell since 1898. It was not until February 2018 when the PML -N led government approved the construction of the J.I.P project.

Another area the project will have serious impact on is real estate. The value of land is expected to grow vastly with the help of a constant supply of canal water. Small jobs will also be created once construction for the Jalalpur canal and its distributaries begins.

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