ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government have signed two loans totalling $375 million to improve irrigation services and promote public-private partnerships (PPP) in Punjab province.
The ADB would provide loan for projects including the one for Jalalpur Irrigation Project amounting to $274.63 million; and second for enhancing Public-Private Partnership Investments in Punjab amounting to $100 million (ADB’s share).
The loan agreements were signed by ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani at a ceremony in Islamabad.
Secretary of Planning and Development Department Iftikhar Ali Sahoo and Secretary of the Irrigation Department Asadullah signed the project agreements on behalf of the provincial government.
The $275 million Jalalpur Irrigation Project will develop a surface irrigation system in Jhelum and Khushab districts of Punjab by drawing water from Jhelum River at Rasul Barrage.
The project will convert over 68,000 hectares of less productive and predominantly rain-fed area into irrigated farmland benefiting 384,000 people.
The irrigation system will include intake structure at Rasul Barrage, main canal (117-kilometres), distributaries, minor canals, cross-drainage structures, flood carrier channels, and associated structures.
The project will improve water-use capacity of 485 water user associations at each watercourse, who will participate in planning, designing, construction, operations, and maintenance of watercourses. It will help train water user association members to better manage their agriculture and water. It will introduce modern technologies and best practices like laser land levelling and high-efficiency irrigation systems.