KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that they were not opposed to the Diamer-Bhasa Dam. He said as the 18th Constitutional Amendment ensures provincial autonomy while strengthening the parliamentary form of government, therefore, any attempt to roll it back would be forcefully resisted.
Shah was talking to the media on Tuesday at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, where he along with Governor Imran Ismail and the cabinet members had gone to pay tributes on the occasion of the death anniversary of founder of the nation. The CM said the amendment was passed by the National Assembly in 2010 and a 27-member parliamentary committee had drafted it with collective wisdom. “I am sure the federal government would not disturb it [18thAmend],” he said.
Talking about Diamer-Bhasha Dam, the chief minister said he was not opposed to the construction of Bhasha Dam but had concerns over some technical issues as the proposed site was located in a seismic zone and the shrinking water availability in the Indus system would hardly allow the dam to be fully filled.
Elaborating on the shrinking water in the Indus River system, Shah said last year instead of 10 MAF (million acre feet) only 7.5 million MAF water was released downstream Kotri. “As a matter of fact, 25 MAF water is required [downstream Kotri], otherwise the sea would keep encroaching the land,” he said and added “in six of the last 10 years, water releases to Kotri downstream was less than 10 MAF and then it dropped further to two to four MAF.” Shah said regular release of river water into the delta is imperative to protect it or all the nearby villages and cities would vanish in the sea, he said. Shah said the provincial government was constructing 34 small dams and the work has almost completed, while the work on other 16 dams is in progress.
To a question, Shah described the Baldia Factory fire incident as a heinous crime. He said a Joint Investigation Team was formed and the culprits were brought to book. To another question, the CM conceded that the instances of street crime had recorded an increase due to the uncalled for transfers-postings of officers, by the caretaker government, before the general elections. “We successfully overcame terrorism in the city and now we have taken street crime as a challenge and it would be eliminated soon,” he vowed.
Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail appealed to the provincial government to provide support and cooperation for the construction of Bhasha Dam. Thegovernor said he would take along the provincial and the local governments while implementing the federally funded development projects. He said the pace of work on mega development projects in the city, including the Green Line bus service, would be expedited.
Earlier, the chief minister, along with Governor Sindh and his cabinet members, laid a floral wreath at the Mazar-e-Quaid and offered Fateha for the Founder of the Nation. The chief minister also recorded his impressions in the Visitors’ Book at the mausoleum.