Gilgit-Baltistan: DBD Dam Construction and Causes of Delay

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Islamabad (Nation): The WAPDA chairman has said that the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam (DBD) could not be initiated by 2010 due to the failure of authorities to acquire the land for the project, as there was dispute over the rate of compensation.
He was replying to the queries of the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan here on Tuesday. In the committee session, which was held under the chair of MNA Malik Ibrar, the committee members came up with a series of questions mainly wanting to know the undue delay in start of work on the project. Chairman WAPDA also informed the members about the issues relating to the affectees of the project and the dispute on the compensation rate.
Wapda chairman also informed that both World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) would also be releasing funds for the construction of Daimer-Bhasha Dam.
Replying to a question by member Dr. Shireen Mazari, the WAPDA officials informed that despite being disbursed Rs 17 billion, the relevant authorities even failed to acquire any land for the purpose. It was also disclosed that delay in agreed and ratified payment to affectees would entail penalties on government and now government would have to pay interest to the affectees on the delayed payment and the cost of the project may exceed Rs 33 billion. To a query about Punji Dam, Chairman WAPDA said that as it was right on the earthquake fault-line so the PC-1 of the project was revised and the work on the project would be initiated subsequently. The committee once again expressed strong dismay over the absence of federal minister and asked him to ensure his presence in the next meeting of the committee.
Besides Chairman WAPDA, Secretary Water and Power and officials from Gilgit-Baltistan were also present.

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