Murad keen to launch Keenjhar expansion plan to store more water for Karachi

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KARACHI Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah during a meeting with a World Bank delegation led by its Country Director Mr Najy Benhaaine, discussed the need to increase the storage capacity of Keenjhar Lake to manage the ever-increasing water demand of Karachi.

According to the CM, Keenjhar Lake is crucial for providing drinking water to Karachi and its surrounding areas. The proposed project includes improving the KB Feeder Lower Canal System, extending Keenjhar Lake, and developing social and environmental plans.

The World Bank has expressed support for the project, which is estimated to cost around $300 million.

Additionally, the Pre-feasibility of modernisation of right bank canals of Sukkur Barrage was carried out under the Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project (WSIP), and detailed feasibility would be carried out under the ongoing Sindh Water and Agriculture Transformation Project (SWAT) at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Minister Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro briefed the meeting about the Keejhar Lake expansion and KB Feeder improvement projects.

10-year Engagement Strategy: The CM and World Bank team discussed a 10-year engagement strategy called Country Partnership Framework (CPF) 2025-34 to achieve five different goals.

The goals include reduced child stunting, reduced learning poverty, more resilience to climate change, decarbonization of the economy and more inclusive job opportunities.

Reduced Child Stunting: The objective of initiating Reduced Child Stunting is to improve access to basic health, diversified nutrition and family planning services. The other objective is to improve access to clean water, sanitation services and hygiene.

Reduced learning poverty: Under this project access to quality schools and foundational learning would be improved.

Minister Education Sardar Shah said that the education dept was working to increase equitable access to quality early childhood education (ECE), and primary and secondary education to promote social cohesion and to provide greater opportunities for learning, participation and 21st-century skills to marginalized groups, particularly girls and women.

The CM said that education dept was also working to improve the quality of learning outcomes by strengthening the teaching/learning process through innovations.

Resilience to climate change: Under the plan the agriculture sector would be made more resilient to water scarcity and drought. The project would also increase resilience to floods and disasters.

Decarbonisation of the economy: The decarbonisation of the economy aims to provide access to cleaner and more sustainable energy while reducing air pollution from sources such as transportation and industry.

During the meeting, Minister of Transport Sharjeel Memon reported that 50 electric buses have been added to the Peoples Bus Service fleet, with plans to add more buses to decrease environmental pollution in the city. He also shared details about the transportation projects underway in the city.

Minister of Energy Nasir Shah discussed the renewable energy projects implemented in the province, highlighting the establishment of solar parks to supply affordable and clean energy to households and government offices.

Inclusive job opportunities: Under the project fiscal space would be increased for sustainable macro-fiscal management. It would also enhance productivity and increase private investment in exports/tradables, including the agricultural value chain.

The chief minister and the World Bank team decided to review the projects again in the next meeting by the time the concerned departments would complete their homework.