‘Basha, Mohmand dams construction likely to start next year’

Five sub-committees constituted to oversee the projects of the two dams

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SHAHID ABBAS
ISLAMABAD

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Lt Gen (Retd) Muzammil Hussain Thursday said the construction work on both Diamer-Basha and Mohmand dams would be started in mid of the next year and it would require nine and five years respectively for completion.
The maiden meeting of Implementation Committee of Diamer-Basha and Mohmand dams (ICDBMD), the chairman said it was an unprecedented step of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and such strategy would be devise to complete both the projects in time.
He said the committee had 34 members including chief secretaries of four provinces, senior officials of the ministry, former Wapda chairmen, technical and financial experts.
The meeting also constituted five sub-committees to effectively oversee the projects.
Five sub-committees namely Land Acquisition and Resettlement Committee, Finance Committee, Procurement Committee, Security Committee and Coordination Committee; one each for Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dams were constituted.
The meeting also decided that the sub-committees will make their presentations on July 20. It will also finalise and submit reports on July 23 relating to the issues and the ways to resolve them. Subsequently, the progress report will be submitted to the Supreme Court on July 24 in line with directions of the court.

The Wapda chief said classical mechanism was adopted during period of 1958-1976 for construction of dams and hydropower projects and mega projects like Mangla, Tarbela dams, five barrages and seven linked canals were completed in due course of time.
However, the chairman said later mechanism was slowed down resulting delay of 10-15 years in projects completion.
He said earlier the Planning Commission was involved in construction of mega projects.
Muzammil said water situation was critical in the country as hardly around one million acre feet (MAF) water was available in the reservoirs as compared to 6.7 MAF last year.
The chairman said Wapda completed four mega projects in last one and half years including Neelum Jhelum hydropower, Tarbela 4th Extension, Golan Gol and Kacchi Canal despite numerous hardships.
Replying to a question, the Chairman said both the projects would be financed from its own resources and dam portion of Diamer-Basha would cost around Rs.476 billion. Around $1.5 to $2 billion foreign funding would be required for both the projects, he said.
Regarding provision of security, he said local administration of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan were fully sensitised about it.

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