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RAWALPINDI: A two-member team from the defence ministry on Friday visited the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) to inspect the Khanpur Dam Water Supply Project Phase-III and prepare a progress report.

Khanpur Dam Water Supply Project Phase-III was launched in 2001. Two earlier phases worth Rs690 million were completed in 2005 to supply nine million gallons of water daily (MGD).

On April 8, 2006, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council approved the project.

However, work on Phase-III started in Dec 2010 for laying 17 kilometres of water transmission lines in the remaining 40pc of the cantonment area and the construction of 10 overhead water reservoirs and three underground water tanks.

On Friday, a two-member team consisting of Monitoring and Evaluation Team Assistant Chief Sajjad Khan and Research Officer Mohammad Ali visited RCB offices and inspected the site where overhead and underground water tanks were constructed, with the capacity to store 200,000 gallons of water.

RCB officials briefed the team about the progress made and said work was underway on laying supply lines on railway crossings including at Marrir Chowk, Dhoke Chiraghdin and I.J Principal Road.

However, they said, a no-objection certificate was required to cross the main Grand Trunk Road near Morgah and that RCB had submitted the application with National Highways Department.

The officials said Rs60 million is needed to complete the remaining 10pc of work in the project and that the funds are immediately required so the water supply can be started through the system by the end of the year.

They said that after the formation of the new government, the civic body submitted a request for the release of funds.

The officers said the federal government had allocated funds for the project in the fiscal year 2017-18 under the Public Sector Development Programme but the funds were yet to be released.

When contacted, RCB spokesperson Qaiser Mehmood said the team was visiting to evaluate the project as per routine and that the monitoring team had been formed by the ministry to keep an eye on development work.

He said the project will be completed once the funds are released and that only minor work is left. After the completion of the project, he said, RCB will get extra water from Khanpur Dam for the Cantt areas.

He said the water shortage issue will be addressed by next summer and that the recent rains had raised the water level in the Khanpur Dam.

He said RCB plans to install new tubewells in the areas where low-income families reside to address the water shortage issue.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018