ISLAMABAD   -     Federal Minister for Resources Faisal Vawda on Wednesday said that the government has increased the water usage charges for AJK from 25 paisa to Rs 1.10 per unit which will enhance its income to Rs 11 billion.

“Earlier AJK was getting Rs 70 million for the water usage charges at the rate of 25 paisa per unit but now it has been brought as par the other provinces and now AJK will be getting an income of Rs 11 billion per year,” Federal Minister for Resources, Faisal Vawda said while addressing a Press conference here.

He said that Net Hydel Profit (NHP) for other provinces were increased by the previous government, in 2016, however, it was kept unchanged for AJK.

Within shortest time the PTI government has decided to bring AJK as par other provinces and the Cabinet has approved the increase water usage charges for the AJK.

”We were thinking above political prejudice or party politics ,therefore, we have decided to increase the AJK water charges, otherwise, there was PML-N government in AJK and we could have waited till the end of the government.

While appreciating Neelum Jhelum Hydro project, completed during the PML-N government, the Minister said that usually such projects run at 80 per cent capacity but Neelum Jhelum has surpassed the estimated generation and is currently producing electricity at 103 per cent which is the symbol of a successful project.

He said that Neelum Jhelum will be earning Rs 50 billion per year.

When the Minister was asked about the water shortage in Sindh and the shutter down strikes in some rural Sindh’s districts, he replied that “I wouldn’t comment on the issue as after 18th amendment it is a provincial matter.”.

Instead he said that he has received some complaints about the stealing of water from Hub Dam, which is providing water to Karachi, and said that he said that some diversion line has been built and water is being stolen there.

I will be visiting the area myself, next week, to confirm the complaints, he said. On the issue of illegal hydrants, the Minister said that they have compiled a list of illegal hydrants in Karachi and he is in touch the provincial government.

He said that he will prefer to have a joint raid on the illegal hydrants and if they refused i will be doing it individually.

Regarding the recent Pakistan Indus Water Commission delegation visit to India, the Minister said that unexpectedly it was successful the team visited the dam site.

”Overall I am satisfied with our team and the Indian behaviour,” he said.

Regarding the super flood warning, the Minister said that after 18th Amendment it is the provincial subject and we have done preparation. He said that something are good with the 18th Amendment while some are not and we have to sit together to fix the issues. Regarding Mohmand Dam, the Minister said that the preliminary work has been started on the project and the ground-breaking will be held on the availability of the Prime Minister.

Regarding the increase in water usage charges, the Minister said that due diligence is going on the issue, however, personally he thinkS that to stop the waste of water it should be increased.