ISLAMABAD - Construction work on the Kurrum Tangi Dam in North Waziristan is likely to start soon after the bidder has reduced the engineering cost of the project by Rs1.3 billion, it is learnt reliably here.

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has reduced the engineering cost of the Kurrum Tangi Project from around Rs14 billion to Rs12.7 billion, official sources told The Nation yesterday.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) earlier this year, in principle, approved the Kurrum Tangi Dam project and asked for its cost rationalisation. The Frontier Works Organisation was the successful bidder but the CDWP meeting objected over the high rates claimed FWO.

The CDWP has recommended the stage one of the Kurram Tangi Dam project to the Executive Committee on National Economic Council (ECNEC) at the cost of Rs22.74 billion with a foreign aid component of Rs4.5 billion.

However, the official said that after the successful perusal of the Ministry of Planning and Development, the FWO has voluntarily reduced the price for the project.

The total cost for the phase one of the Kurram Tangi Dam project is Rs22.7 billion while the engineering cost was around Rs14 billion, the official said, adding the other cost included consultancy, supervision etc.

The Kurram Tangi Dam is located in North Waziristan Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Wapda has planned to implement the project in two stages.

The total height of the dam is 322 feet with a gross storage capacity of 1.2 MAF and live storage capacity of 0.9 MAF. The total power generation capacity of the dam is around 83.4MW.

Stage-I of the project includes Kaitu Weir irrigation and power component. On its completion stage-I will provide water to 16,380 acres of land in addition to producing about 18.9 megawatts of power. The project will also provide water for domestic use by about 48,500 people. According the estimates the benefits of stage-I will about Rs1.5 billion per annum.

According to WAPDA document feasibility study, Detailed Engineering Design and Tender Documents of the project completed in March, 2005. The project was redesigned in July 2007 with an increased height to enhance the storage capacity. WAPDA has materialised the financing of Stage-I (Kaitu Weir & Irrigation and Power Project) of Kurram Tangi Dam Project with USAID with the initial investment of $81 million.

It is pertinent to add that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed to provide a grant of $81 million to Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for the construction of stage-I of Kurram Tangi Dam.

A revised PC-I with new cost has been forwarded to the ministry of Planning and Development, the official said adding that the project will completed in 33 months after its commencement.