ISLAMABAD   -  The Supreme Court on Monday took notice of banks failing to open accounts for deposit of funds for the construction of dams in the country, reported The Express Tribune.

An apex court bench, headed by CJP Mian Saqib Nisar, took the notice while hearing an application forwarded by the Ministry of Finance, making a request for expediting the work for the opening of relevant accounts.

Last week, the top court ordered authorities to immediately initiate work on Diamer Bhasha Dam and Mohmand Dam, and constituted an execution committee headed by Wapda chairman.

“The State Bank of Pakistan is giving the impression that the accounts meant for construction of dams were opened by the former government,” said Justice Nisar yesterday.

 “These funds are established by the Supreme Court. Take a glance at any English newspaper and see what the finance division has to say. The public is giving us a message that they do not trust the government. People maintain that they would not deposit money into accounts maintained by the government.”

Justice Nisar also demanded an explanation regarding the absence of the finance secretary, remarking that the accounts for the construction were set up by the ministry of finance. He advised the attorney general to consult the caretaker premier Nasirul Mulk and then present the premier’s views in court.

The CJP maintained that State Bank’s procrastination was a source of anguish for everyone. “It took three days for the bank to open an account,” he added.

“SBP has been unnecessarily making us wait while the people are clueless with money in their hands. We must ask the upcoming chief justices to take care of the issue. Those who are making donations for the construction of dams must be praised.”

The court also summoned secretary finance in his personal capacity. Justice Ijazul Hasan maintained State Bank was creating bottlenecks for the general public. “An impression is being made that people don’t want to deposit funds in the account set by the SC,” Justice Hasan said, at which the CJP said that a man had just committed to donating whatever it takes for the construction.

Meanwhile, ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor said the Pakistan armed forces will contribute to the fund announced for the construction of the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam. "Pakistan Armed Forces contributing to Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund. Officers of Pak Army, Navy and Air Force will contribute their two days’ pay while soldiers one day’s pay to the announced fund for this national cause," Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

Wapda sets up secretariat

Wapda has established a secretariat for the implementation committee of Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD) in Islamabad.

Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain is the head of committee while Ministry of Water Resources Joint Secretary Syed Mehar Ali Shah is its secretary, a spokesperson said, adding that the first meeting of ICDBMD was convened at its secretariat on July 12.

The land acquisition for the Bhasha Dam was started by the last PML-N government soon after coming into power, which is near completion now, while the formal approval of the project from the CDWP and ECNEC has taken place this year.

The PML-N government has allocated Rs23 billion in the PSDP 2018-19. Similarly the 800MW Mohammad dam was also approved by CDWP and ECNEC during the same period and Rs 2billion has been allocated during the current fiscal.

Wapda chief calls on PM

The Wapda chairman called on Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasirul Mulk and briefed the latter about the issues of water and hydropower sectors in the country. The PM was also apprised of Wapda projects, particularly Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dams.

The PM was briefed that construction work on Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dams will be started in fiscal year 2018-19.

Diamer Basha Dam Project has a gross water storage capacity of 8.1MAF and power generation capacity of 4500MW. Likewise, Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project will store 1.2MAF water and generate 800MW electricity.

The 1410MW-Tarbela 5th Extension, the 2160 MW-Stage-II of Dasu, the 7100 MW-Bunji and the Stage-II of multipurpose Kurram Tangi Dam are among ready-for-construction projects.

The chairman said Wapda completed four mega projects from August 2017 onwards to irrigate 72, 000-acres land in Dera Bugti of Balochistan and add 2487 MW of hydel electricity to the national grid.



Our Staff Reporter/Monitoring