RAWALPINDI, July 8: The City District Government Rawalpindi has stopped the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) from carrying out development work on the piece of land allocated for Daducha dam. It has also cancelled the sale deeds of 18,000 kanals sold to the DHA.
The Punjab government had last week given a green signal to the local administration to start work on the proposed dam on the recommendation of the provincial cabinet’s sub-committee led by Sardar Zulfikar Ahmed Khosa.
After receiving the instructions, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar on Saturday evening stopped the DHA from carrying out the development work and called a meeting of the stakeholders on Wednesday.
The previous Punjab government led by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had failed to start the project, which had been proposed in 2001 to provide 25 million gallon daily (MGD) water to the city, due to the reservations of housing societies like the DHA and Bahria Town. In the meantime, the DHA launched a joint venture with Bahria Town after purchasing 18,000 kanals in the area in 2006.
However, in 2011, the Supreme Court directed the provincial government to construct the proposed dam to end the water shortage in the city.
“During last month, the DHA officials held meetings with the Punjab housing and planning ministry officials and expressed their reservations, saying the government should build the dam three kilometres upstream, as construction at the original site may create problems for the housing scheme,” the DCO told Dawn.
However, he said, the provincial government had rejected DHA’s reservations and asked the local administration to cancel the sale deeds.
The DCO said the CDGR had stopped work at DHA valley and the joint venture. He said the government had decided to launch the project at its original site.
“The DHA started construction of roads and development of plots in the area last year,” he said and added that after receiving directives from the provincial government the CDGR officials visited the area on Saturday and informed the DHA officials about the decision.
He said the DHA had purchased 18,000 kanals of land falling in the limits of the tehsils of Rawalpindi, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta. The irrigation department and Small Dam Organisation had also suggested to the CDGR to impose Section 144 in the area to avoid any further construction.
It may be mentioned that in 2001 the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) and the Small Dams Organisation (SDO) had proposed construction of two dams - Cherah and Daducha - to meet the water scarcity in the Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas but the Punjab government dropped the Daducha dam project on the request of the DHA.
The Daducha dam project would have been more useful for the city and cantonment areas as it was designed to supply 25 MGD water to the city and cantonment areas for the next 50 years.
It may be noted that the Rawal and Khanpur dams produce 16 MGD while there are over 300 tubewells which provide 22 MGD water to the city against its need of 50 MGD. The water supply from Khanpur Dam fulfils the requirements of the cantonment areas and city’s nine union councils.
Sources said the city may face water crisis if small dams were not built in three or four years. They said the city’s water demand would shoot up to 79 MGD in the next 20 years.