ISLAMABAD - Taking notice of the flawed design and cost escalation of the Akra Dam in Balochistan, which has failed to provide drinking water to Gwadar, a Senate sub-committee on Tuesday recommended action against the officials responsible.

Instead of the initial estimates of Rs150 million, the cost of Akra Dam escalated to Rs1,000 million and due to the flawed design and planning, the project is unable to provide water to Gwadar, noted the Senate Sub-committee on Planning Development and Reforms that met here with Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani in the chair.

The sub-committee met to find facts regarding a question raised by Senator Talha Mehmood.

The committee also aimed to dig out the reason behind where did the money for Akra Dam go and who is to be blamed for its failure, along with issues regarding provision of clean drinking water for Gwadar and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

The committee recommended action against the government officials responsible for Akra Dam feasibility, PC-1 preparation, and approval, and directed for presenting the report to the committee.

 “The cost of Akra Dam escalated to Rs1 billion against the initial estimates of Rs150 million,” observed sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms. Durrani said that projects were being launched without proper planning.

“Huge amount is being spent on these projects from the national exchequer and projects get delayed,” he added.

Briefing regarding the current water availability situation, the official of the planning ministry informed that around 1.8 lakh gallon of water is being supplied to Gwadar district. The supply of water to Gwadar cost around Rs 180 million to Rs 220 million per month, the official informed.

During the briefing on the water supply through desalination plant the committee was informed that a federal government funded set up a desalination plant with the cost of Rs one billion. All the allocated funds were released in 2012. The plant was handed over to the provincial government in 2016,but it was operational only for 20 days. The filters of the desalination plant gone bad and the building is in depilated condition, the committee was informed. The design of Gwadar water filtration plant was flawed. The desalination plant will be revamped in six months and the project would cost Rs 800 million.

It was further informed that FWO and China want to operate the desalination plant in Gawadar and the it has offered to reduce per gallon cost. The official said that the government lacks the capacity to run the desalination plant.

Officials further said that advertisement for the desalination plant had been given in newspapers on which the committee recommended including companies of international repute.

Senator Mohsin Leghari said that the plant was not working due to the inability of the government of Balochistan.

Senator Usman Kakar said that there was water shortage in Gwadar and people were protesting.

Kakar further said that the repair of the desalination plant initially required only Rs1 million but was not spent.

He demanded action against the people involved in the negligence, and recommended against officials involved in the negligence.

The committee also decided to visit Gwadar.

It was informed that the PCSIR had tested the water of the Mirani Dam and it was discovered that a total dissolved solids (TDS) in the dam was 467.

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The committee decided to issue notices to chief secretary Balochistan, additional chief secretary Balochistan for not attending the meeting.