Islamabad     -     A parliamentary committee was yesterday informed that Sindh government has allotted only 303 acres of 7507 acres of land required for Nai Gaj dam as the cost of the project was escalated by 175 percent. The blame game regarding delay in the construction of Nai Gaj dam continued on Friday as in the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms, the Planning ministry blamed Sindh and Wapda blamed planning for delay in release of funds for Nai Gaj dam project.

Wapda has blamed ministry for Planning for delay and subsequent cost escalation in Nai Gaj dam and said that out of Rs26 billion allocation the commission has released only Rs5 billion so far. The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reform which met with Senator Shahzeb Durrani in chair discussed the current status of the Nai Gaj dam in Dadu Sindh, the provincial wise distribution of HEC scholarships and delay in the construction of family suits of parliament lodges .The committee also discussed the implementation  status of its previous recommendation of clean water supply to Gwadar and PSDP allocations.

The committee was informed by planning ministry that work on Nai Gaj dam was started in 2009 but was delayed due to changes in its design by Wapda and financial problems. The initial construction cost of the project was Rs16.9 billion which was escalated by 175 percent to Rs46 billion during last one decade. The official of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) informed the meeting that the contract was awarded in 2013 and the project was supposed to complete in three years. In 2015 the PC-I of the project was revised the work was not started. The meeting was told that in 2018 once again the PC-1 was revised.

The committee was informed the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) included additional components increasing the cost of completion of the dam to around Rs46 billion. Official of the Planning ministry informed that work had been stopped on the project since 2018. The PC-1 will be submitted for approval by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). It was further informed that out of 7507 acres of land for the project the government of Sindh has given only 303 acres of land. Sindh is also not ready to pay its 50 percent share of the project. Chairman of the committee said that stop talking and find a solution for the problems.

Senator Rukhsana Zubiri said that action should be taken against those who have caused delay in the project. Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad said that when funds are not available don’t start new projects.

Agha Shahzeb Durrani showed his displeasure over delay in the monitoring report of the project. He said that eight months ago the committee had issued clear instructions that Planning Ministry and WAPDA should dispatch their monitoring teams to the Nai Gaj and provide report to the committee. However the directives were not implemented, he added.

The matter of 300 scholarships to women in 50 different sectors was also discussed and the chairman of the committee said that no progress was made on the issue. He said that the committee had recommended these scholarships for women to make them more powerful. The officials of the HEC said that they will provide detail report in this regard in the upcoming meeting.

The committee was also briefed about the revised renewable energy policy 2019 and it was informed that it will be presented during the next cabinet meeting for approval.

On the issue of clean drinking water to Gwadar the committee was informed the project was underway and 45 percent has been completed. The committee was informed that the planning commission has not released any funds during first quarter of 2019.The commit was informed that the during last 17 year total of 243731 scholarships have been granted to Master, Mphil and Phd students.

Usman Kakar alleged that Vice Chancellor Balochistan University was suspended by the provincial high court but now he is being appointed as Dean in Lahore University. Instead of re appointment the VC needs to be arrested, he demanded.