CHINIOT-The residents of two tehsils of Chiniot District have been divided over the construction of a dam River Chenab that is envisaged to produce 69 MW of electricity.

The report of a survey conducted by this correspondent reveals that farmers and land owners of the Chiniot and Lalian tehsils oppose construction of the proposed dam over River Chenab.

Farmers, representing Kissan Board, are of the view that with the construction of the dam, around 70 km of agricultural land will become uncultivated. They said that it will result not only in displacement of 200,000 residents but also will leave hundreds of farmers unemployed. The farmers also warn to stage massive protest in case of the dam construction as the project threatens their livelihood. They also threatened to take out a rally from Chenab Bridge to the Chiniot DC Office if the government proceeds with the dam construction.

The social and welfare organisations, on the other hand, welcomed the project, saying construction of dam on River Chenab will proved to be a milestone in the economic development of Chiniot district.

According to official sources, the federal government has approved Rs136.7 million for feasibility report of the proposed dam. The dam is envisaged to help meet the water requirement of industry, which is likely to be flourished in the suburbs of Chiniot after the discovery of iron, copper and gold mines in the area. The dam will have a capacity to generate 69 MW (hydropower) electricity.

The other objectives of constructing include: water storage, regulating downstream canal network and most importantly flood mitigation. The devastating flood in Rivers Jhelum and Chenab played havoc across Punjab in 2014.