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HYDERABAD / LAHORE: The completion of the Nai Gaj dam in Dadu district has been delayed by at least four years and the main reason is insufficient funding for the project, according to sources.

However, another project — the Darawat dam in Jamshoro district — is almost ready for handing over to the Sindh government after completion.

The construction work on the Nai Gaj dam was started on April 25, 2012 and the project was supposed to be completed by April 2015. But due to the inordinate delay it is now expected to be completed by June 2019.

The delay has led to escalation in the cost of the project from Rs16.92 billion, as mentioned in the original PC-I, to over Rs26bn, as stated in the revised PC-I.

The chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain, was briefed on the matter during his visit to the dam’s site in Dadu district on Tuesday.

The Wapda chief also visited the Darawat dam in Jamshoro district, said a press statement.

During the briefing, Lt Gen Hussain was informed that completion of the dam in Dadu district had been delayed mainly because of insufficient allocation of funds coupled with delays in release of money. However, the project could be completed in two years provided the funds required were made available immediately.

Darawat dam in Jamshoro district is almost ready

The Wapda chairman said that rapid population growth and decline in the capacity of available water reservoirs were turning Pakistan into a water-stressed country. If the problem was not addressed soon the country could very well turn into a water-starved one.

He said that Wapda was committed to developing water resources in view of the rapid surge in water requirement and demand. Under a two-pronged strategy, Wapda was striving not only to complete construction work in the shortest possible period on big water projects — namely the Diamer-Bhasha and Moh-mand dams — but also to expedite the pace of work on medium-sized projects like the Nai Gaj dam.

Lt Gen Hussain was of the opinion that Pakistan should initiate construction work on one major dam in each decade in addition to building small- and medium-sized dams.

He discussed in detail various ways in which the pace of work on the Nai Gaj dam could be expedited.

He expressed satisfaction on the completion of the Darawat dam which was ready to be handed over to the Sindh government for operations. He was told that good spells of rain could allow the dam to be filled quickly.

The Nai Gaj dam is being constructed on the Gaj River, 65km northwest of Dadu. The gross capacity of the reservoir is 300,000 acre feet while its command area comprises 28,800 acres.

The Darawat dam is on the Baran River, 70km west of Hyderabad, and has a gross water storage capacity of about 121,000 acre feet and a command area of 25,000 acres.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2017