SHABQADAR: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Development Authority and Mohmand Political Administration have failed to start reconstruction work on Gandao Dam since 2013 when militant attacks damaged the dam near Ghallanai.
This was revealed during a briefing on the dam when Additional Political Agent Hameedur Rehman visited the site along with officials from the Fata DA on Tuesday. He was briefed that “on the night of September 25, 2013, a group of militants attacked Gandao Dam and took two staffers hostage, while destroying machinery worth millions including two excavators, a bulldozer, three tractors, two mixers, and labourers quarters.
A contractor, his driver, and an engineer were killed the next morning when their pickup hit a landmine planted by militants near the site. After that, construction work was stopped, while the contractors claimed Rs23 million in damages from the FATA DA and refused to restart work without being paid and being provided with proper security.
When the FATA DA refused to fulfil the demands, the contractor went to court. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor later approved payments to the contractor, but the funds have still not been released.
Rehman was also told that the project originally started in June 2013 and would have provided water to 96,365 people till the year 2060. Documents stated that the Rs449 million project was 40 per cent complete at the time of the attack, with Rs181.26 million having been spent on it.
Rehman showed concern over the delay in reconstruction and ordered a workable plan for the reconstruction of the dam to overcome the water shortage in agency headquarters Ghallanai and surrounding areas.
Ghallanai has been suffering an acute water shortage and locals must buy water tankers for between Rs1,500 and Rs2,500 every week, while poor local residents wait all day for government or charity-provided water tankers which come up to the main Mohmand-Bajaur road.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz told The Express Tribune that most residents of the area migrated from here due to the unavailability of water. He said that his own well water level has gone down to 20 metres as the area has been facing acute droughts for the last two years, and this summer saw the first substantial rains in ages.