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Work on Mohmand dam resumes after four years

January 18, 2018

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A heavy machine at work at Gandao small dam in Mohmand Agency. — Photo by Fauzee Khan Mohmand
A heavy machine at work at Gandao small dam in Mohmand Agency. — Photo by Fauzee Khan Mohmand

GHALANAI: Work on construction of Gandao small dam in Haleemzai tehsil of Mohmand Agency has been resumed after four years.

Mohammad Tariq Khan, the agency coordination officer of Fata Development Authority, said that work on the project was resumed a few days ago. He said that it was a drinking water supply scheme.

Several tubewells and dug wells and other water supply schemes have dried up because of prolonged dry spell and depletion of water table in the hilly areas of the region, particularly the agency headquarters Ghalanai, its surrounding areas and Khwezai and Baizai tehsil. The shortage of water has forced tribal people to buy drinking water from tanker owners.

Additional Political Agent Hamidur Rehman said that he along with the officials of Fata Development Authority and other departments visited the site two weeks ago and inspected the work. The government had spent Rs2.25 billion during the last few years on water supply schemes in Mohmand Agency, but the issue is still unresolved. The people of Haleemzai tehsil face acute shortage of drinking water.

The official said that it was their main objective to restart the work so that the issue of shortage of drinking water in the area could be resolved permanently.

Tariq Khan said that works on the project was stopped when the dam was attacked by militants in 2013. Three persons had been killed and six injured in the attack.

The attackers had also abducted two labourers besides destroying machinery including two excavators, a bulldozer, a jackhammer, a drilling machine, two concrete transit mixers, three tractors, crushing machines and pickup vehicle. Tariq Khan said that the structure of inspection hut was blasted and the building consisting of four rooms and gallery collapsed.

The dam near Ghalanai will be completed in June 2019. Work on the project was initiated in 2013 that was stopped after the killing of a contractor and other workers by the attackers four years ago. Tariq Khan said that Rs200 million was spent on the project while Rs18.2 million was paid to the local tribesmen as land compensation.

The local residents welcomed resumption of work on the dam. The said that dam would resolve the issue of shortage of drinking water in the area.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2018