Kachhi Canal and N-70 Highway Projects to Boost Pakistan's Balochistan
Kachhi Canal Project:
Recently completed 400 kilometers in phase 1 of 500 kilometer long Kachhi Canal is now the longest irrigation canal in Pakistan. It stretches from the plains of South Punjab to the heights of eastern Balochistan where it will eventually irrigate over 700,000 acres of arid land, according to WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority).
|Kachhi Canal Pakistan|
Part of Kachhi canal is made up of 56 inch diameter pipeline that will pump 120 cusecs (cubic feet per sec) of Indus water 7,000 feet above sea level across Sulaiman mountain range. This feat of engineering made possible by NESPAK (National Engineering Services of Pakistan), a consulting firm that I worked for 3 years in mid-1970s.
|Kachhi Canal Project Phases|
National Highway N-70:
National highway N-70 runs from Multan in Punjab to the town of Qilla Saifullah via Dera Ghazi Khan, and Loralai in Balochistan province. It requires traversing 11,500 feet high Sulaiman mountains, the southern extension of Hindu Kush mountain range. It has recently been completed.
|N-70 Highway Pakistan|
The condition of old British colonial era N-70 national highway was very poor. In particular, the hilly sections of the road suffered from frequent rock falls and debris and occasional land slides from the steep mountain side. It had narrow road width, coupled with hair-pin bends and relatively steep slope. Trucks pulling containers were forced to take alternative route via N-65 highway to Quetta. The solution was to use seven steel bridges that were 11.5 kilometers in length. The project was completed at a cost of $142 million with the assistance of JICA, Japan's international aid agency.
|Steel Bridges At Fort Monroe on N70 Highway|
Recently completed infrastructure projects linking South Punjab with Balochistan will boost agriculture and transportation sectors and the economy in Pakistan's least developed areas. Kachhi canal will irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres of arid land while improvement and widening of N-70 east-west national highway will help movement of goods and people to integrate remote areas with the national economy.
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