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WB Expert calls for yearly survey of Indus Blind Dolphins

WB Team leader Takeaki Sato says yearly survey of Blind Dolphins is must being the endangered species

The team visits Guddu and Sukkur barrages, holds meetings with Sindh Barrages Improvement Project officials for protection and conservation of Indus Blind Dolphins.

The number of Indus Blind Dolphins has increased from 172 to 1490 during the period from 1972 to 2019 – Sindh officials   

By Rehan Ali Khan

Sukkur

An expert of World Bank has called for yearly survey of Indus Blind Dolphins and taking special care for their protection and conservation, being the endangered species.

Mr. Takeaki Sato, an international Senior Environmental Specialist of the World Bank held meeting with Sindh Barrages Improvement Project (SBIP) officers and direct stakeholders and consultants and discussed the matters related to protection and conservation of Indus Blind Dolphins in River Indus between the reaches of Guddu to Sukkur Barrages, during his two-day visit.

The world bank team led by Takeaki Sato, an international and Senior Environmental Specialist, Imran ul Haq, Senior Social Development Specialist and consultant, Ibad Ur Rehman visited the Sukkur Barrage and watched the Indus Blind Dolphins at up and down streams of Sukkur Barrage.

Consultants of social safeguards Jibran Kidwai and Jan Mohammad Samo of Sindh Barrages Improvement Project briefed on the Indus Blind Dolphins and other species and their protections at office of the executive engineer of Sukkur Barrage.

The SBIP – Sindh Project team was led by Deputy Project Director Sajid Ali Bhutto and other consultants.

WB meeting - Dolphin-Sindh Courier
WB experts meeting with Sindh Barrages Improvement Project officials in Sukkur

WB Team and officers of SBIP also visited ongoing work of rehabilitation and modernization of Sukkur barrage. The work on gates of main barrage and canals is in progress.

The WB team also discussed the safety and environment issues of the barrages.

On that occasion, Takeaki Sato said that it needs to pay proper attention to the protection of Indus blind Dolphins in River Indus.

Takeaki Sato highlighted the three main and important points – Arrangements to avoid dolphin access to nearest working site at Barrages like Sukkur and Guddu barrages, Dolphin rescue system establishment in the SBIP project and conducting training on Dolphin conservation.

It was informed that Sindh Wildlife Department during a survey had found 132 Indus Dolphin in 1972 while 1490 were found in 2019 which shows continuous growth of Indus Dolphin in Guddu to Sukkur barrage areas.

The WB expert urged that Indus Dolphin surveys must be carried out on a yearly basis because this species is rare and endangered at Global level.

It was discussed that different location downstream Sukkur barrage would affect not only endangered Dolphins but also fish species as well as other aquatic lives.

Deputy Project Director Sajid Ali Bhutto briefed the WB team about Indus Blind Dolphins, and said that SBIP has released funds to Wildlife Department related to protection of Indus Blind Dolphins. He said that with funds of Indus Blind Dolphins, the wildlife department has protected 21 stranded Indus Blind Dolphins from canals soon as water was reduced in canals and lives of Indus Blind Dolphins were at stake.

The World Bank mission also visited Guddu barrage and observed ongoing replacement of gates of main barrage and canals and also observed water situation.

During 2-day visit, the WB team also met Project Director Ghulam Mohi u Ddin Mughal.

It was decided to follow all plans and recommendations of the WB team following the conservation of Indus Blind Dolphins and other species.

Indus-Dolphin
File Photo

Meanwhile, Implementation Support Mission of World Bank, led by Task Team Leader, Francois Onimus also held the meeting with SBIP Sindh at ANG Abbasi Committee room of Project Coordination Monitoring Unit of Planning and development department to review and monitor the progress of Guddu and Sukkur Barrage Rehabilitation and modernization Project.

Francois Onimus also discussed the establishment of a BMU-Barrage Management Unit.

CRE Guddu Barrage Chris Hall, Project Director SBIP Ghulam Mohi u ddin Mughal, Superintendent Engineer Abdul Razak Memon, Imran Aziz Tunio technical officer SBIP and Iqbal Palejo director Mechanical of SBIP, deputy director environment SBIP  Dr. Ali Asghar Mahesar, Izhar Leghari assistant director procurement SBIP  and Ehsan Leghari, Fareeha Mahar, Mohammad Aslam Ansari, Ms Faria Uqaili, Dr. Marium Minhas  of Project Coordination and Monitoring Unit of Planning and development department government of Sindh attended the meeting.

Francois Onimus also held a meeting with minister irrigation Sindh Jam Khan Shoro and secretary irrigation Sindh Sohail Ahmed Qureshi on water policy and Sindh Barrages Improvement Project.

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