LAHORE: In a departure from existing practice in land acquisition and resettlement, the Water and Power Development Authority has decided to provide temporary housing to families whose land in Thore Valley has been acquired for construction of the $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam.The temporary accommodation will be provided in addition to full payment for the land and development of permanent townships in five years.
The decision at a recent meeting will benefit 131 families whose land has been acquired for Wapda's offices and residences.
The provision of adequate shelter to the affected people is in line with the 'safeguard policies' of the donors.
Money for construction of the houses, comprising a bedroom and a toilet, will be paid to the affected families in three instalments. Cheques for the first instalment will be given within 10 days.
Wapda will also provide medical facilities to the affected families and also in remote villages of Diamer district.
A poultry scheme for women will be launched and veterinary camps will be set up in the area.
The process for acquiring land is in progress and 12 contracts have been awarded for construction of Wapda offices, colonies, contractors' camps and roads.
The Diamer-Bhasha Dam project, which was launched by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in October last year, will store 8.1 million acres feet of water for irrigation and generate 4,500MW of low-cost and environment-friendly electricity. It will add about 20 billion units of electricity annually to the national grid.
The dam will also protect the region from flood.