CJP says wanted to resolve Nai Gaj Dam issue before retirement


–Court summons finance and power ministers, secretaries on Tuesday


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and the respective federal secretaries on January 15 over the delay in the construction of  Nai Gaj Dam, regretting he might not be able to resolve the issue within his tenure.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Nisar heard the petition seeking directives for the allocation of sufficient funds to complete the dam.

During the course of proceedings, the chief justice said he had hoped that the matter would be resolved during his tenure; however, some wishes just remain wishes.

Meanwhile, Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas apprised the bench that the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) forwarded the proposal for the dam’s construction to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).

He said during the meeting, the federal and Sindh governments had disagreed on shared financing of the Rs 46.5 billion Nai Gaj Dam, but formed a committee to further scale down its estimated cost.

The chief justice expressed displeasure and said the matter will now be stuck with the council. “I wanted this matter to be resolved before my retirement,” he added.

Subsequently, the court summoned ministers for energy and finance and the secretary cabinet on Tuesday and directed that the minutes of CDWP’s meeting be presented before the court by Monday.

It may be mentioned that Nai Gaj is a hill-torrent which emanates from Khuzdar district of Balochistan and after passing through plains of Kutch, it eventually enters Manchar lake.

The Nai Gaj area remains dry for eight months and gets water in four months during monsoon season. After Manchar lake attains its peak level and no more remains in a position to receive water in monsoon season, water flows from Nai Gaj often devastate flood-protection bunds and inundate agricultural lands.

On Thursday, the Sindh government refused to share financing of Rs46.5 billion Nai Gaj dam, saying the Centre should finance the project.

A representative of the Sindh government told the meeting that his province was already facing reduced fiscal flows from the centre than budgeted and would not take an additional burden.

The federal and Sindh governments on Thursday disagreed on shared financing of the but formed a committee to further scale down its estimated cost.

The CDWP constituted a committee comprising senior representatives of the government of Sindh and the federal ministries of planning and water resources to further rationalise the cost of the Nai Gaj dam and submit a report within three days.