Islamabad    -    Senate Standing Committee while taking notice of the delay in the land acquisition for Dasu Hydropower Project has summoned Chief Secretary KP as only 7.5 percent of total land required for the project has been acquired so far.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources met here with Senator Shamim Afridi was also informed that the Planning Commission has stopped further expenditure on Naulong Dam of Balochistan.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources discussed Dasu Hydro Project,Greater Thal Canal and Naulong dam project in Balochistan. On Naulong dam the committee was informed that planning commission has imposed ban on further expenditure of the dam. It was told that Rs2 billion were earmarked for the project but work has not been started. The project was supposed to complete in four years but so far less than 20 per cent funds of the project has been released. The committee has summoned the official from Planning Commission to the next meeting to discuss the issued.

On Dasu project the Committee was informed that only 7.5 percent of total 9875 acres of land required for Dasu Hydropower project has been acquired. The committee was further informed that the cost of land for Dasu Hydropower project was increased by around 95 percent from the early Rs 19 billion to Rs37 billion.

The committee was informed by member water WAPDA that the total capacity of Dasu Hydro project is 4320MW and it will be completed in two phases. The project will have 12 units of 360 MW each and in the first phase 2160 MW electricity will be generated and the same quantity will be generated during second phase, he informed. The 1st phase of the project was started in June 2017 and will be completed in 2023 he said adding that the next phase will be started in 2023.

On the issue of land acquisition for Dasu Hydro Power Project it was informed that SMBR, KPK had promised during the 14th meeting of PSC that the district administration will acquire 1247 acres of land in priority area within six months and the remaining land within in one year of revised land acquisition plan.

The committee was informed that a total of 9875 Acres of land is required for the project which includes 866 Acres for main civil works,1121 Acres for preparatory work and 7888 for reservoir area. However so far 740 Acres of land was acquired which is in procession, while the remaining 9135 Acres has to be acquired.

The Member (Water) WAPDA further briefed the committee that ECNEC had approved the land acquisition rates in 2015 which was not accepted by the land owners. The KP government had then constituted a steering committee and they had fixed the new rates for the land purchase. As per revised plan of cost of acquisition of land increased from 19 billion to 37 billion and the said additional increase of Rs18 billion (37-19) will be borne by WAPDA from its equity and local commercial financing. The new prices had been approved by both ECNEC and federal cabinet, he informed.

The committee was told that they are facing the problem in land purchase for the project and 1245 acres of land is required immediately for civil and preparatory works of the project. Chairman of the committee said that for the resolution of land acquisition issue Chief Secretary should be summoned to the next meeting, otherwise the land rates will further go up.

Regarding Greater Thal Canal the committee was informed that the PC-I of the project was approved in 2002 with an estimated cost of Rs 30 billion. The committee was further told that Khushab,Leyah,Bhakkar, Jhang and Muzafar Garh are the beneficiaries of the project.The committee was told that Munkira branch of the project was completed in 2008 and 30 per of land was irrigated during past 10 years. The chobara branch of the project will be started next year.The committee shown concern that despite the construction of the canal the land was not developed for agriculture.

The committee has called Chief Secretary Punjab, Irrigation Secretary and Secretary agriculture to the next of the committee.