Need for water reservoirs: Senate’s body

Islamabad (19th Feb, 2020): Senate Standing Body on water resources reportedly discussed the construction of new dams. 

According to reports, the Senate State Body on water resources for Pakistan reportedly held a meeting to discuss the construction of two new water reservoirs, namely:

  • Khisar Dam, Nushkhi 
  • Bhimber Dam, Azad Jammu & Kashmir

The meeting was held at Parliament Lodges on Tuesday, that is 18th February, to discuss the construction of the two dams, and was chaired by Senator Shamin Afridi. The purpose of the meeting was to brief on issues related to the construction of the Khisar Dam Project.

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During the course of the meeting, the Committee was informed that the proposed site of the reservoir is located at an approximate 18 kilometers from Nushkhi in Balochistan. “The objective of the project is to recharge the ground water aquifer in the area located downstream of these dams”, according to sources. The dam is expected to be instrumental in the protection from flash floods, respectively. In addition to this, the crop yield will also increase as expected.

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Moreover, the reasons behind the delay in construction were also discussed. It was reported that a insufficient funds was a major reason behind the lack of progress. Furthermore, the committee directed that the Finance Division be summoned for the succeeding meeting where the progress report will also be evaluated. Simultaneously, the committee was informed that the approved PC-I Cost was nearly PKR 444.001 million while, the updates cost is PKR 381.551 million, respectively.

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According to reports, the committee noted that the Finance Division fails to attend the meetings pertaining to development in the Balochistan province. Similarly, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) submitted a PC-II for a feasibility study. Central Development Working Party (CDWP) reportedly approved the funds for the PC-II on the 29th of November back in 2013 subject to WAPDA’s financing and addressing of Azad Jammu and Kashmir concerns. Although WAPDA requested that the AJK government arrange the required funds as it was the sole beneficiary, reportedly they refused on grounds of financial constraints.

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Consequently, WAPDA requested the Ministry of Water Resources to fund the project through Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), however, were informed that to process PC-I through PSDP “cannot be entertained”. Thereby, the committee decided to write to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to fund as per half of the estimated cost. Additionally, it was decided to revised PC-II.

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