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March 20, 2019

Wapda to begin civil work on Mohmand Dam next week


March 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government will start civil construction work on the much-awaited Mohmand Dam by next week, as it has started mobilising machinery on site to commence work on this mega project of national importance.

On the Tarbela-V (T-V) too, the government would begin work with the support of the World Bank, as the bank did in the construction of Tarbela-IV, which has been completed and generating electricity and revenue of Rs30 billion a year.

Speaking to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources, which met with MNA Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, WAPDA Chairman Muzammil Hussain said, “We had months back targeted to start work on it in March 2019, and now we have reached that point to formally commence work on it next week.”

While jettisoning the perceptions and negative propaganda against these mega water and power projects, he said, “We have no issue now in land acquisition for Mohmand Dam and it has been completely resolved. We have started mobilising machinery and contractors, and by next week we would start construction on Mohmand Dam.”

He further said since Diamer-Bhasa dam construction was a little delayed, and would be commencing in August 2019, Rs15 billion of that have been re-appropriated to Mohmand dam to speedily start work on the later.

In the past, propaganda and negative perceptions were been generated against these dams, but those were not based in reality, he said these dam sites were “hydraulically and geologically” suitable, and have been proved “perfectly suitable by top water and dam experts”.

The Wapda chairman said land has already been transferred to the dam by the locals, while other land for reservoir (catchment) would be completed by December 2019. The project was delayed for five decades, but now the critical land has been acquired.

Contract for construction has been awarded to joint venture of M/S CGGC of China and Descon of Pakistan. The appropriation of federal PSDP allocation of Rs17 billion for fiscal year 2018/19 has been approved and Wapda’s equity of Rs684 million has already been injected.

Preliminary works have already been commenced on site by Wpada since January 2019. Consultants and contractors would also be mobilised at the site next week, he said. The cost of the project has been revised down to Rs291 billion from the PC-I cost of Rs309 billion. It would have water storage capacity of 1.29 million acre feet (MAF) and would generate 800 megawatts of electricity.

“For the difference of Rs18 billion, we have requested the government to sanction it to Wapda, as it can construct another dam in Balochistan with this money,” Chairman Muzammil Hussain said.

Regarding construction of 4,500MWs Diamer Basha Dam, he said land distribution and boundary issue between KP and Gilgit-Baltistan has also been resolved. “We have acquired more than 90 percent of land,” he informed.

The Wapda chairman further informed that earlier, the government was responsible to resettle the people; however, now it has been decided to pay a higher price for the land and allow people to resettle anywhere they want.

The total cost of Diamer-Bhasha dam is around Rs1,400 billion. Out of it, initially part of construction of reservoir would cost Rs474 billion, in which the government would have to provide Rs232 billion while remaining amount would be arranged by Wapda. Hussain further said that for Dasu dam, the government has acquired land of 744 acres.

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