ISLAMABAD - Central Development Working Party is meeting here Thursday (today) to discuss much delayed Nai Gaj Dam project with an escalated cost of Rs 46.55 billion.

The cost of the project has increased by Rs 20 billion from the early estimated cost of Rs 26 billion to Rs 46.55 billion, official documents available with The Nation revealed.

It is pertinent to mention here that last week a Supreme Court bench has directed the federal government to give a timeframe for the construction of Nai Gaj Dam which was delayed for 6 years. The Nai Gaj Dam project was approved by ECNEC in 2012, however no work was done on the project and now a revised PC-I of the project is again coming to CDWP.

Nai Gaj Dam is being constructed across Gaj River in district Dadu of Sindh with a total project cost of about Rs.46.55 billion. The 194-foot high dam will store 300,000 acre feet of water to irrigate about 29,000 acres of land. The project will create employment opportunities for 6,500 persons during the construction, operation and its maintenance. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at more than Rs3 billion.

Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) was polluting Mancher Lake, one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia, while Nai Gaj was the main fresh water source of the dam. The resolution of the issues is the pre-condition for the revival of Mancher Lake.

According the official documents, the revised PC-I of the project was approved by the ECNEC in August 2012 at a rationalized cost of Rs26.24 billion after removing some components of the project. Sindh government has resented the removal of these components and said, “The environmental requirement of the project could not be addressed if the water from Nai Gaj is not supplied to Mancher Lake as the Gaj River is only fresh water source in the area,”. The implementation of these components will increase the project cost by 13 percent and will add additional Rs5.80 billion to the total cost.

The CDWP again considered the revised PC-I costing Rs46.55 billion in March 2016 but it was deferred. The Ministry of Water and Power was asked to hold meeting with all the stakeholders, but the Ministry of Water and Power held meetings with stakeholders without taking the government of Sindh on board which is main stakeholder.

The other projects to be considered by the CDWP, along with Nai Gaj Dam, include the emergency plan for Polio Eradication (2nd revised) worth $986 million. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) is the sponsoring agency of the polio project.

In transport & communication, the CDWP will consider the construction of road over Malir Bund from Dadu Bhhey Town/Expressway up to limits of PNS Mehran District East Karachi(1.5 KM) with the cost of Rs 499.814 million. The project was considered by CDWP on 2nd May 2018 and approved subject to cost rationalization.

The other project to be considered by CDWP is construction of road from Durnlottee Wells up to Link road adjacent to education city, District Malir Karachi(10 KM).

Another project is construction of RCC Pre-Stressed Bridge at Lassan Thakral Logeran, Breela Dai-Da-Pattan Tehsil and District Mansehra. The project was considered by CDWP on 2nd May 2018 and approved subject to cost rationalization.

Three extension cases will also be discussed by the CDWP which include New Mineral Survey Scheme (NMSS) Phase-VI. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission is the sponsoring agency of the project and cost is Rs1085.392 million. The project was approved by the ECNEC on 6th November 2008 for 5 years.

The CDWP will consider the extension of nutrition program for Sindh. The project is sponsored by the government of Sindh and it was approved by the ECNEC on 12th February 2014 for 2 years. The cost of the project is Rs 4117.90 million.

The other project to be considered by CDWP for extension is E Office Replication at all Divisions of the Federal Government Project at Islamabad. The project is sponsored by IT division and it was approved by the CDWP on 6th July 2017 for 11 years. The cost of the project was Rs 440.358 million.