QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly adopted a resolution demanding Rs500 billion for construction of dams across the province after reports said that underground water had receded to 1,500 feet and rain and floodwaters were going to waste due to a lack of reservoirs.

Syed Liaquat Agha moved the resolution of Opposition Leader Abdul Raheem Ziaratwal. The house, in the absence of Speaker Raheela Durrani, was presided over by Shahida Rauf of the JUI-F on Friday night.

Liaquat Agha said that water requirement was increasing with every passing day while according to a survey underground water reserves were almost at an end. The issue of water shortage, he said, might cause many problems throughout the province.

The resolution demanded that construction of dams be included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) so that rain and floodwaters could be collected in dams instead of going into the sea.

Those who supported the resolution and also spoke on the importance of the water issue included Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Dr Hamid Achakzai, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran and Abdul Majeed Achakzai.

Dr Hamid Achakzai informed the house that a dam was under construction in Quetta at the cost of Rs9bn and the federal government was providing funds for the project.

He said that out of 100 dams, so far 30 dams had been completed and 10 more dams would be constructed soon. However, he said that these dams were not sufficient.

Sardar Khetran suggested that a team comprising parliamentary leaders of all parties be established that would visit Islamabad to plead Balochistan’s issues and get included various projects, including dams, in the federal PSDP.

Ms Rauf drew the attention of Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo to the suggestion of Sardar Khetran on which he said that his government had no objection if such a team was constituted.

“I am ready to go with the team for pleading Balochistan’s issues with the federal government.”

The chair also disposed of another resolution of Liaquat Agha about separating the grazing ranges and agriculture lands in Musakhel district on the chief minister’s assurance.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2018

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