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RAWALPINDI: On the directives of Supreme Court, the Punjab government has initiated the process to construct the Daducha Dam at a cost of Rs7 billion to overcome the water shortage in the garrison city.

The project concept-I was forwarded to the Planning Commission on Thursday after approval by the commissioner of Rawalpindi.

In this regard, a consultation meeting was held with Commissioner Nadeem Afzal Chaudhry in the chair. The meeting was also attended by senior officials of the Small Dam Organisation (SDO) and the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa).

The dam was proposed in 2001 by the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) and the SDO in the village of Daducha. However, work on the project could not be launched.

The Rs7bn reservoir will supply 24mn MGD water to Rawalpindi, says official

In 2006, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) purchased the 18,000 kanals where the dam was to be built and launched a housing scheme as a joint venture with Bahria Town.

However, on August 4, 2015, the Supreme Court in a suo motu case directed the Punjab government to construct the dam at the originally proposed site. Soon after the apex court directives, the government froze the sale and purchase of land in the area.

The government allocated funds for the construction of the dam in its annual development plan of 2017-18.

A senior official of the SDO told Dawn that the government had asked the department to get approval of the project from the commissioner Rawalpindi and the meeting was held for consultation with him.

“More than 24 million gallon daily (MGD) water will be supplied to Rawalpindi from the dam. Wasa will also be consulted as it has to construct a filtration plant and water supply lines from Kahuta Road near Sihala to the Rawalpindi city,” he said.

He said the construction of the dam would also help recharge the underground water table in the city which was depleting very fast. “The water table has depleted to 300 feet and may further go down by 30 feet in a few years due to the installation of tubewells in the city.”

He said Wasa had installed 400 tubewells and the Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards more than 150.

When contacted, the commissioner said he had given the go-ahead signal for the construction of the dam at its original site.

“We are working to settle down all issues with private housing societies. There is a dire need to construct the dam to meet the water shortage in the city,” he said.

The commissioner said the SDO briefed him about the details of the dam and PC-I, which had been forwarded to the planning and development department for final approval. “The administration will implement all the directives of the apex court and the provincial government for the construction of the dam,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2017