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‘Construction work on Mohmand Dam on track’

By Khalid Mustafa
December 10, 2021

Islamabad: The construction work on Mohmand Dam is on track but the deadline of completing the two diversion tunnels has been extended by three months up to October 2022 in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. The said tunnels were earlier scheduled to get completed by July 2022.

And the Swat River will continue to flow through tunnels for 3-4 years till the completion of the dam portion. This is the fifth highest dam in the world being built and once it is erected, it will have grass storage capacity of 1.293 MAF and live storage of 0.676 MAF.

The Mohmand Dam is a multipurpose project that will yield numerous dividends, including the irrigation of 16,700 acres of new land apart from irrigating the existing 160,000 acres of land and production of 800MW electricity at Rs16 per unit. In addition, 300 million gallons per day will be provided from the dam to Peshawar. Wapda Chairman Lt General (retd) Muzammil Hussain told this to a group of parliamentarians here on Wednesday during a briefing on the site of the project. He said that the first unit of 200MW will come on stream by December 2025. However, the remaining three units of 600 MW will be functional in 2026 during flood season.

He said that right now at 13 sites, the construction work is in full swing with double shifts. The irrigation system will also be built and functional by June 2025 with annual benefits of Rs2.23 billion. He also said that cities like Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera will be saved from the flood because of Mohmand Dam, knowing the bitter fact that in 2010 catastrophic flood hit KPK and the annual benefits in terms of flood mitigation has been estimated at Rs1.467 billion. More importantly, the project will also provide Rs2.86 billion units of cheap yet environment-friendly electricity to the national grid every year providing the annual revenue of Rs45.76 billion.

Muzammil Hussain also highlighted the social and economic benefits for the local dwellers mentioning that an amount of Rs4.5 billion has been earmarked for CBMs in the project area to develop health, education and drinking water facilities. The dam will also provide as many as 6,100 jobs and so far 2,968 local people have been absorbed and out of them 400 people are being given skills, enabling them to earn more and this process will continue.

After the briefing, the delegates were taken to various sites and shown the pace of ongoing construction work on diversion tunnels. The delegation were also briefed about the construction of spillways. The parliamentarians were of the view that after 50 years’ time, a huge project is being built up. They said that seeing is believing.

The parliamentarians, headed by Standing Committee Chairman Junaid Akbar, also asked for more facilities to the local community and agitated the issue of submitting the revised PC-1 of the project, arguing increasing dollar-rupee parity and cost escalation will increase the cost of the project. The Wapda chairman said that when the project was approved, the dollar-rupee parity was at Rs148, which has now increased to Rs175. He said that it is not high time for submitting the revised PC-1 of the project. However, Wapda will submit the revised PC-1 at appropriate time.