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January 7, 2019

Hingol Dam must be given priority, says PPP senator

National

January 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Taja Haider said the contract for construction of Mohmand Dam has been awarded to an engineering firm of an adviser to the prime minister, on a single bid while the much more beneficial Hingol Dam project in Balochistan was lying dormant for almost a decade. Comparing the two projects, Senator Taj Haider said that detailed engineering designs and tender documents of the Hingol Dam project had been completed in 2009 while in the Mohmand Dam project case even the consultants had not been appointed.

He said Hingol Dam’s capacity at 1.4MAF is larger than the 1.3MAF capacity of Mohmand Dam. “It shall irrigate 120,000 acres compared to mere 17,000 acres of Mohmand Dam; its total estimated cost is lower than that of Mohmand Dam,” he said.

He said the land acquisition is much cheaper since the land of the site does not have to be purchased and human displacement is less. “[The] Hingol Dam will open up a new era of prosperity for the local population by multiplying manifold agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism sectors,” he said.

Taj Haider said that Hydro-power generation of Mohmand Dam at 800MW is much higher than the 4MW of the Hingol Dam, but hydro-power generation is no longer the cheapest mode of generation of electricity. He said electricity generated at Thar Coal power project shall cost less than 5cents/KWH. “The 200MW solar generation plant being put up in lower Sindh would generate electricity at 3.9cents/KWH and will be completed in 18 to 20 months,” he said.

Senator Taj Haider said water reservoirs, including the existing ones, should be operated in a manner as to give priority to irrigation needs. “Electricity should be treated only as a bye-product. Unfortunately, operation of water reservoirs is giving priority to electricity generation, and these are restricting downstream flows for irrigation needs in order to maximize electricity generation,” he said.

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