Chairman, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Lt General (retd) Muzammil Hussain has said that Baza Dam was to be completed by 2009. However, the work on the project could not be initiated due to prevailing law and order situation in the country.
Hussain told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Water Resources that work on Mohmand Dam was to be initiated in 2009 it got delayed and now its construction will start in June next year.
The committee met in Islamabad with Senator Shamim Afridi in the chair. Officials of Ministry of Water Resources and Wapda briefed the panel on different water storage projects being carried out in the country.
Regarding the inordinate delay in completion of Khazana Dam, Secretary Irrigation Balochistan told the committee that the project got delayed due to the selection of an unfeasible location for construction of the dam.
He explained that an expert engineer did not select the location for construction of the dam. A member of the committee, Senator Usman Kaker, reprimanded the Secretary Irrigation for coming to the meeting ill-prepared.
During the meeting, senior Wapda officials called for close liaison and coordination between the center and province for quick and speedy completion of small dam projects in the country.
Senator Jehanzaib Jamaldini accused Wapda of using delaying tactics in the construction of dams in Balochistan.
He said that Balochistan was missing from the priority list of the Authority. He told the non-seriousness of the authority can be gauged from the fact that PC-I of Mirani Dam has not yet been prepared.
Responding to Jamaldini’s objections, Chairman Wapda said that both the province and center had no funds for construction of Noolang Dam. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed its willingness to fund the project with certain conditionalities.
“But the provincial government of Balochistan has not yet issued a NOC to the ADB,” Muzammil Hussain pointed out.
Balochistan has 72 thousands acres feet of water, but the province can only use 10 thousand acres feet water. Regarding the authority’s performance, Lt. General (retd) Muzammil Hussain said that Wapda under his command completed some of the long-delayed projects pending for the last 15 years within one and half years.
Briefing the committee, Secretary Ministry of Water Resources said that during the current fiscal year some 83 different water projects were approved, which will cost Rs77 billion. Some Rs6 billion have been allocated for the projects in the ongoing budget.