–Ceremony postponed due to alleged dispute over award of contract
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has postponed the inauguration of the Mohmand Dam project, which was scheduled for January 2, without announcing the new date.
A Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) spokesman has confirmed the development but not cited any reason behind this, a local media outlet reported.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who have also initiated a fundraising campaign to build water reservoirs in the country, were set to attend the much-awaited ceremony as the chief guests.
Meanwhile, Iftikhar Durrani, the spokesperson for the prime minister, said that he was not aware of shelving the launching ceremony.
The project with Rs309 billion estimated cost is vital for the country facing a shortage of energy and problems of water scarcity.
The Supreme Court, while issuing a detailed verdict in water scarcity case, highlighted that “the need for water reservoirs is not only expedient but also sine qua non (an essential condition) for the survival of the people and economy of Pakistan”.
The media outlet claimed that the ceremony has been postponed due to the alleged dispute over the award of contract of the dam project.
As per the data available on the WAPDA’s website, the detailed engineering design of the project was completed in April 2017, while the hiring of consultancy services for construction design, construction supervision and contract management of Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project is in the progress.
A tentative construction plan available of the official website shows the commencement of the construction in April 2019.
WHAT IS MOHMAND DAM PROJECT?
Mohmand Dam is a proposed multi-purpose concrete-faced rock-filled dam located on the Swat River approximately 37 km north of Peshawar and 5 km upstream of Munda Headworks in Mohmand District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Once completed, the dam is expected to generate 740 MW of hydroelectricity, irrigate 15,100 acres of land and control floods downstream. It is expected to provide numerous estimated annual benefits including Rs. 4.98 billion in annual water storage benefits, Rs. 19.6 billion in power generation benefits by generating 2.4 billion units of electricity annually and Rs 79 million in annual flood mitigation benefit.
It was earlier reported that district administration officials were holding meetings with elders of Burhan Khel, Uthman Khel and Essa Khel tribesmen to finalise the documents about land acquisition.
Unlike other parts of the country, there is no state land in tribal areas, neither are individuals authorised to deal with matters of land. The land belongs to tribes. Each tribe has its demarcated area and there is no land revenue department record for individual land holdings.
The government will have to deal with whole tribes instead of individuals as it does in settled districts in acquiring land. However, these tribal areas have been merged with KP and all law have been extended to erstwhile FATA after 25th Constitutional Amendment.
Nevertheless, as of now, the Peshawar High Court has suspended the Interim Government Regulation and the judgement was challenged by KP government in Supreme Court.
Therefore, technically, there is no law to dictate the land transfer process in this part of Pakistan.
Besides land transfer, the government will also have to resolve the issue of compensation to the local community.