Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Training Workshop in Japan

Japan International Co operation Agency organized a two weeks training workshop in Japan from July 1, to July 14, 2012 under “Strengthening Irrigated Agriculture through Participatory Irrigation Management” Project. Mr. Sajid Mehmood, President of FO Jalwala, Bahawalnagar Area Water Board, Mr. Manzoor Ahmad Siddiqui , Manager Social Mobilization/Trainings PIDA and Mr. Shahzad Mehmood, Assistant Training Coordinator (Technical) Bahawalnagar Area Water Board were nominated to attend the training workshop. The said training/study tour was facilitated by JICA/Hokkaido Center to Study Japanese Farmers Organizations system.  
All the participants were invited in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries where Mr. Hujiwara, Director Overseas Land Improvement Cooperation welcomed and briefed them about the participatory irrigation management model, being practiced in Japan. Later on, the participants were delivered lectures on “Irrigation Development in Japan” and “Land Improvements Districts System” which is a sort of farmer organization in Japan, responsible for irrigation management. The participants were also provided the opportunity to physically observe the functioning of Land Improvements Districts and the mechanism of agro production supplies from farm to market entirely managed by farmers.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Status of Abiana Collection by FOs

The Farmers Organizations have been empowered to collect the amount of Abiana from irrigators under institutional reforms program. Till June 2012, the Farmers Organizations in Lower Chenab Canal (East) Area Water Board assessed Rs. 1229.399 millions and collected Rs. 827.870(m). The FOs of Lower Chenab Canal (West) Area Water Board have collected Rs. 451.9 41(m) out of assessed Rs. 608.289(m). Likewise, the FOs of Lower Jehlam Canal Sargodha collected Rs. 44.982(m) out of assessed Rs.48.152 (m). The Abiana collection progress in Chashma Right Bank Canal Division at Taunsa remained poor where only Rs. 14. 697(m) out of Rs. 103.655(m) could be collected. The Farmers Organizations of Bahawalnagar Area Water Board collected Rs. 191.940(m) out of Rs. 238.885(m). All the Area Water Boards have deposited the PIDA share in government kitty. The General Manager (OP) Ch. Karamat Ali has directed the concerned Chief Executives to boost up their efforts for maximum Abiana collection and recovery.          

Social and Environmental Guidelines for FOs

The Social and Environmental Management Unit of PIDA has prepared the guidelines for the representatives of Farmers Organizations who are managing their distributaries with autonomy. In the canal operations process, the FOs are responsible for equal distribution of irrigation water among shareholders and development works of water channels including their de silting. During the operational activities on distributaries, different social and environmental challenges come into being which may spoil the objectives of the development works.  To mitigate and overcome these environmental challenges, the Farmers Organizations will be provided these newly developed guidelines to help them in managing environmental threats during construction and maintenance works on distributaries. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Accounts Management Training of FOs

PIDA organized a two days training session for the financial management staff stationed at field offices to equip them with the financial manual which has been recently developed  to assist the farmers organizations to manage their accounts. The resource persons, Mr. Matee ur Rehman and Qazi Imran explained the financial manual to the trainees in detail and answered their questions which are mostly faced by them while assisting the farmers’ organizations regarding accounts. During the training, the General Manager (Finance) Asif Sohail while addressing the participants said that the Farmers Organizations are the basic units of institutional reforms program in irrigation sector. The Accounts management is an important area for the success of participatory irrigation management model. The financial management staff should cordially help the FOs in accounts management as they are new to the irrigation system. The Deputy General Manager (SM) Syed Shaiq Hussain Abidi was also present during the training.  

Saturday, 14 July 2012

JICA visit at Bahawalnagar

The Chief Advisor JICA, Susumu Uciumi and the Coordinator Reforms on SIAP Project, Muneeb Zafar held a visit at Bahawalnagar Area Water Board to observe the performance of FO Sirajwah and the usage of training material by FO’s General Body and Management Committee.
At first, the JICA expert briefly explained the purpose of visit under SIAP project. The FO Coordinator while briefing the JICA team about the outlines of the FO told that it was one of the oldest FOs in Bahawalnagar Canal Circle and working since 2000. One of the Executive members (Middle) was working with the FO since day one. The FO President explained that the FO conducts its General Body meeting twice in a year and the minutes of the meeting are recorded. Likewise, the FO conducts its Management Committee meeting with in 40 days. The minutes of these meetings are also regularly recorded. The FO has also established all the standing committees, and their members are aware about their position in the standing committees. It was told during the meeting that the FO Coordinator was visiting the FO twice a month and attending every MC meeting of the FO and always ready to assist the FO in its affairs.
In response to a question, the FO President replied that the expenditures were with in budget and the FO got no loan from PIDA in order to run the system. The current income of the FO is Rs. 59,000,000, while half of the money was deposited to PIDA as per rule. All of the expenditures record regarding administration and operation was well maintained by the FO Assistant.
While discussing the operation works, it was brought into knowledge that the FO President and the Executive members often check the distributary. The de-silting of distributary was done in patches. Usually during the month of December, before annual closure, the Management Committee conducts a survey on entire distributary including the minors with Technical Manager and marks the areas which require the immediate need of de silting. It was mentioned that complete de silting has not been done by the FO since 2000 due to shortage of funds.
The FO President pointed out that the minors associated with the main distributary were already lined but the main distributary had not been lined yet. The FO members has held meeting with Head PMO (PISIP) and explained him the situation. Head PMO (PISIP) agreed to line the distributary after the completion of ongoing work. The Executive member (Middle) explained that there was a need to line the distributary on immediate basis in order to minimize the maintenance cost as well as the water theft cases.
In 2008, when the FO got resolved after the completion of three years tenure, it was working in A Category. After the administrative period, when the FO again took charge in 2011, the FO was placed in B Category. The Executive member (Middle) criticised that FO Jalwala is working in A Category while rest of the FOs are working in B Category. Executive member further said that a set criterion should be followed for all of the FOs.
The JICA team appreciated the performance of the FO Sirajwah and promised to deliver the reservations of the FO to the higher authorities. The Chief Advisor JICA also urged the participants to motivate the farming community to involve in the management and maintenance work of the distributary. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Seminar on World Environment Day

The Social & Environment Management Unit of PIDA organized a seminar on World Environment Day to create awareness among the irrigation engineers, project managers and other concerned professionals.
The Additional Secretary (Admin) Irrigation Department presided the seminar while Chief Engineer Irrigation Lahore Zone, Syed Mehmood ul Hassan Shah and General Manager (TM) Syed Faiz Muhauldin participated as guests of honor.  Likewise, a large number of irrigation engineers, officers, and PIDA staff attended the seminar on invitation of Director SEMU Najmus Saqib Rehmani.
Director SEMU, Najmus Saqib Rehmani addressing in the seminar
 After the recitation from the Holy Quran, the Director SEMU welcomed all the participants and apprised them about the importance of environment and the reasons of its global celebration. He informed the participants about the water pollution in river Ravi and its effects on agriculture production. He told that SEMU has done a detailed research to measure the contamination level in the water of river Ravi. Meanwhile, he also presented a thought provoking documentary to the audience.
 While addressing in the seminar, the Additional Secretary (Administration) Irrigation Department, Sara Aslam told that Irrigation Department was taking into consideration the entire available legal framework to improve the water quality in water channels. She urged the irrigation engineers to take necessary steps in time so that farmers could get the pollution free irrigation water. She appreciated the staff of SEMU for conducting the seminar on environment day.
The environmental experts were especially invited to address in the seminar. Professor Ateeq ul Rahman from Environmental Sciences Department, Lahore College for Women University dwelled upon the adverse effects of arsenic on human health. He told that the presence of arsenic in drinking water is causing cancer as well as many other diseases. He further identified many arsenic effected areas of Punjab in which ground water has become dangerous for human health.
Participants of the seminar on World Environment Day
The Environmental Scientist, Dr. Ashraf Bodla advised the participants to make efforts for the sustainability of environmental betterment. He said that green economy means to play our individual roles to maintain the eco system on earth by adopting austerity measures in the utilization of natural resources. He said that scientific and industrial revolution has helped a lot human being by providing luxuries of life but unfortunately, there have not been done sufficient arrangements for the disposal of industrial waste which ultimately causes environmental pollution.  
The Chief Engineer Irrigation Lahore Zone, Syed Mehmood Ul Hassan Shah informed that all the projects, designed for the betterment of irrigation supplies are approved only when they are provided NOC from SEMU. The objective is to make the irrigation projects environmental friendly. He also thanked all the participants for attending the seminar.