LAHORE: The Punjab government has demanded compensation from the federal government for environmental damage allegedly caused by the Ghazi-Barotha power project.
Provincial Minister Environment Dost Muhammad Khosa has written a letter to Federal Minister Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi stating that the Ghazi-Barotha hydel power project has caused colossal damage to the ecosystem surrounding the Chhachh region, located north of the Attock district.
The letter also says that although the project handled the re-settlement of affected families successfully, it failed to anticipate the extent of probable damage to the region’s environment.
The drastic reduction in the flow of the Indus River in the Chhachh region has not only destroyed the natural balance of the braided alluvial channel zone of the river but also lowered the water table in the region, Khosa has claimed. He has also said that the hydel project has made it impossible to extract water for irrigation while the land is losing its fertility as a result of which farmers are losing out on their output.
The Punjab government has urged the federal government to constitute a high-powered committee of ministers from the provincial and national assemblies to address the grievances of the locals and to devise a plan to compensate the Punjab government for onward distribution.
Published in the Express Tribune May 28th, 2010.