Representatives of different political parties, farmers’ associations and trade bodies Tuesday vowed to resist the construction of Japan-funded Gravity Flow Water Supply Project on River Daur in Abbottabad District.
The participants at a meeting of Haripur Bachao Tehrik (Save Haripur Movement) said that the diversion of water from river Daur towards Abbottabad for the scheme would aggravate
the water-stricken situation in the irrigated areas of Haripur.
The speakers criticised the government for agreeing to what they called a controversial project. They said such a step would spoil “brotherly relations” with the people of Abbottabad and damage the agro-economy of Haripur District that is entitled to maximum share of water of River Daur, being a lower riparian region.
They said that the project would destroy the fertile orchards and agricultural land in 20 union councils (UC), and will damage the sewage system in three urban UCs, which are totally dependent on Daur’s water.
The participants estimated that about 33,000 hectares of land is irrigated from Daur’s water. Haripur is the biggest supplier of seasonal as well as off seasonal crops, vegetables and fruits to the rest of the country, speakers said.
The gathering talked about the Rawaje Aabpashi (water apportionment) accord of 1904, which guarantees Haripur’s rights over the waters of Daur River, and stated that it can not be gifted or sold to any other party.
They vowed to resist the project at “every cost” and announced to launch a protest movement “soon”. The meeting was chaired by Pakistan Peoples Party District President Haji Tahir Qureshi; representatives of Anjuman Zameendaran Traders Associations and office bearers of PML-N, JUI-F, Tehrik-i-Insaf, Jamat-e-Islami, Hazara Qaumi Mahaz attended the meeting.
Japan agreed to fund the $43 million Gravity Flow Water Supply Project last year. The project will be finished in two phases in five years and will be located 10 km upstream from Abbottabad City.
Japan would pay $588,000 in the first instalment, for the project design, which would provide 6.8 million gallons of water daily to 216,000 people of Abbottabad and its surrounding areas by 2015.
The project was formally inaugurated by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti during his visit to Abbottabad last week.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2011.