Balochistan yet to fully compensate Mirani dam victims

Senate panel informed 99.1% progress made in Neelum-Jhelum project


APP March 26, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed on Tuesday that the government had approved Rs1.10 water usage charges per kiloWatt hour (kWh) for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) under the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Electric Project (NJHEP).

“A formal approval in this regard has been accorded and accordingly a notification will be issued soon," the Water Resources officials apprised the committee meeting, which was chaired by Shamim Afridi.

The NJHEP chief executive officer said a request had been submitted to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to determine the tariff for the electricity produced under the project.

Sharing details about the current status of the project, he said overall 99.1 per cent progress had been made and all its four units were operating and generating approximately 200,906 million kilowatt hour (MKWH), which was being added to the national grid.

Commenting on the environmental issue, he said under an agreement Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was to ensure 15 cusecs the minimum ecological flow of Neelum river at Muzaffarabad, which had been increased to 20 cusecs.

Five years on: Mirani Dam victims await dues

The committee also took up the compensation issue of Mirani dam affected people and expressed serious concerns over inordinate delay in making payments and absence of senior officials of the departments concerned from Balochistan.

The body summoned the Balochistan chief secretary, secretaries of Revenue, Finance and Irrigation departments in next meeting.

The committee was informed that the provincial government had so far made payment of Rs556 million to 1,634 land affected people of the Mirani dam.

The water resources officials said an amount of Rs1,500 million had already been handed over to the Balochistan government for disbursement among the Mirani dam affected people.

A representative of the affected people complained that farmland and agriculture land victims had received no compensation so far.

The officials apprised the committee that a tropical cyclone hit the catchment area of the Mirani dam with full force on June 26, 2007, resultantly the reservoir level rose to 271.4 feet and inundated upstream side of the reservoir, causing heavy loss of property, houses and orchards.

The meeting decided to discuss the issue in the next meeting and directed all officials concerned to ensure their presence to mitigate sufferings of the affected people at the earliest.

Thirsty Gwadar enjoys sustainable, sweet desalted seawater   

The officials also briefed parliamentarians about the present status of Naulong dam project, which is being planned in district Jhal Magsi of Balochistan province.

WAPDA, they said, carried out bidding process for three times from year 2010 to 2015 for the project, but had been shelved due to funds constraints, high bid price and Asian Development Bank's requirement for procurement of contractors afresh.

They said a revised PC-I of the project amounting to Rs28.465 billion had been submitted to the Planning Commission for getting approval from the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC).

The project will be executed with 80 per cent funds of the ADB and 20 per cent of the government.

Construction work on Naulong dam could be started by WAPDA from September subject to early approval of the revised PC-I by the CDWP/ECNEC and release of funds.

The dam would have 242,163 acre feet gross storage and 199,956 acre feet live storage capacity besides generating 4.4 megawatt electricity, while feasibility study and detailed design of the project has already been completed.

Among others, the meeting was attended by senators Sana Jamali, Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani, Gianchand, and Walid Iqbal, besides senior officials from the Ministry of Water Resources and different concerned departments.

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