Located in the South Waziristan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the multi-purpose Gomal Zam Dam is Pakistan’s first roller compact concrete (RCC) dam. It will not only irrigate 191,000 acres barren land of the district Tank and Tehsil Kulachi of D I Khan, but will also generate 17.5 MV of low-cost hydel electricity. According to a report by the Planning Commission, DI Khan and Tank are among the 25 poorest districts of the country. The agriculture land either remains 'Barani' (rain fed) or the farmers are dependent on indigenous irrigation system known as 'Rod Kohi' (hill torrent). But the commencement of the project will help store the water for irrigation, mitigate floods, and provide employment opportunities for youth and also bolster the income of poor segments of the society.

One integral part of the project plan, when it was first conceived in 1880, is the construction of 164km-long Waran Canal system. Last year when WAPDA complained about the shortage of funds for the Waran Canal, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) came forward and opined in its favour after thoroughly assessing its historical importance and current relevance. It is pertinent to note that in September of 2012 USAID, in addition to the provision of $80 million, to help complete the main dam, further provided $12 million for the construction of Waran Canal system. The tender of Waran Canal system took place in January this year, but too high bidding competition led to its cancellation. Now the re-tendering is taking an unnecessarily long time despite ten months after the allocation of funds by the USAID.

What the concerned authorities are failing to realize is that the long delays are not only adding to the poor masses misery but are also utterly discriminatory and against the basic vision of bringing benefits to all the communities. We the inhabitants of D I Khan and Tank districts vehemently support the Waran Canal project and request the Prime Minister to take notice of the situation. The new provincial government of PTI―with its holistic economic and social vision―is also expected to take an active interest in the construction of Waran Canal system. This calls for the immediate re-tendering of the project so that work on it should begin as soon as possible.

The concerned authorities are expected to take special measures to expedite the commencement and completion of Waran Canal within the stipulated time frame of the project.

INAYAT ATTA,

D. I. Khan, August 5.