Islamabad   -  Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources on Monday proposed establishment of a water force to control water theft.

The committee that met with Senator Shamim Afridi in chair was informed that due to water shortage residents of some areas of Balochistan had migrated. Senator Shamim Afridi said that there was severe water shortage in Balochistan and sewerage water was being purified there. Senator Sana Jamali said that because of non-installation of telemetry system, the water of Balochistan was being stolen. She demanded installation of telemetry system to stop water theft.

Officials of the Ministry of Water Resources said that tenders had already been invited for installation of telemetry system on Indus River and international companies had also shown interest in the process.

Installation of telemetry system will take years but establishment of water force could control the theft, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources Senator Shamim Afridi said while presiding over the meeting of the committee.

Besides the water theft, other issues that were taken up by the committee included Chiniot Dam Project, Mohmand Dam Project and status of PSDP funds releases to Naulong Dam, Ichar Nullah Dam and Manchura Dam.

On Chiniot Dam, the committee was informed that the same was a multi-purpose dam that would have multifarious effects on flood mitigation, water storage, power generation, domestic water supply and ground water recharge. It will also impact tourism that will uplift socio-economic conditions of the area. The environmental effects and impact of the dam were deliberated upon in great detail. The committee was informed that various options had been weighed so that the people of that area benefit the most.

The committee asserted that for any project to be successful, it was imperative that transparency of the process is maintained. About Mohmand Dam, it was revealed that the bidding process was according to the rules. The committee was briefed about the process and it was seen that there was no ambiguity in it. Wapda assured the committee that it was taking keen interest in the project and that it was due to be completed in five years instead of the five-year eight months quoted initially.

Deliberating over Naulong Dam, the committee expressed displeasure over delay in initiating its work despite availability of funds. Chairman Committee Senator Shamim Afridi while discussing the issues of tendering and prequalification said that Wapda must revisit prequalification criteria to accommodate local companies. He said that it was a pity that despite having requisite machinery and knowhow, local companies were not considered.

The committee recommended that the issue of Naulong Dam must be taken up exclusively in another meeting.

The committee meeting was attended by Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Senator Mir Yousuf Badini, Senator Walid Iqbal and senior officers of Ministry of Water Resources and Department of Irrigation Punjab. Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda also attended the meeting.