Crucial meeting on Dasu hydropower project postponed, again

Published January 26, 2019
Meeting was supposed to be held to discuss and finalise the already tardy land acquisition for the dam. — File photo
Meeting was supposed to be held to discuss and finalise the already tardy land acquisition for the dam. — File photo

LAHORE: A crucial meeting of the Dasu Hydropower Project’s Steering Committee was postponed again for a second time, delaying discussion and finalisation of the already tardy land acquisition and compensation to people to be affected by the project under a recent and jointly agreed formula.

The meeting was first tentatively scheduled to be held on January 8, but it was later rescheduled for January 24. But again, the meeting couldn’t be held due to engagements of top officials including the federal minister for water resources and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, Dawn has learnt.

Know more: World Bank seeks speedy land acquisition for Dasu power project

“The steering committee meeting was scheduled for Thursday (Jan­uary 24). But, later, it was conveyed to members that the meeting would now be held by next week’s end,” a senior official told Dawn on Friday.

World Bank has thrice extended the deadline for utilisation of funds approved in 2014

Holding of the meeting of the project’s steering committee is important in terms of studying the report of a special committee constituted to negotiate with landowners, making them agree to surrender their land required for the mega civil works of the 4,300MW Dasu Hydropower Project.

“The special committee was all set to submit its preliminary report to the steering committee in the scheduled meeting on Thursday, but it was postponed again,” the official, requesting anonymity, said.

He said the report had been prepared after holding a series of meetings with the landowners, local MNAs, MPAs, notables etc. The report, he said, suggested the government to accept the landowners/affectees’ demand of award of compensation to them according to the formula applied for compensating landowners/affectees of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The financial impact arising in the wake of accepting the affected people’s demands is approximately three per cent (Rs18 billion or so) of the total project’s cost (over Rs600bn) for two stages of this mega project.

“If the special committee recommendations’ are accepted by the steering committee, the matter would be referred to Ecnec for final approval,” he said.

Located on the Indus, some 240km upstream from the Tarbela dam, and in the Kohistan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the project is being funded by the World Bank that, for a third time, has extended deadline for one year for utilisation of the funds approved in 2014.

The main reason for non-utilisation of the funds is attributed to the land acquisition. The members of the special committee, which was constituted last month with the directive to compile and submit a report about the meetings, demands of the affec­ted people, financial impact (in case of acceptance of demands) and recommendations, have worked out a deta­iled assessment regarding cha­nge of land categories (residential, com­mer­cial, agriculture, barren, etc), additio­nal cost, etc, under the formula applied for Bhasha Dam’s land acquisition.

“The assessment worked out by the committee is in line with the affected people’s demands. Affidavits have already been taken from them that their demands would not increase further in future,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Sindh LG poll mess
Updated 28 Jun, 2022

Sindh LG poll mess

The ECP and the Sindh government share the blame for the electoral mismanagement witnessed on Sunday.
State apathy
28 Jun, 2022

State apathy

The minister would do well to revisit his stance before further damage is done to the fight for civil rights.
Lofty but fragile
28 Jun, 2022

Lofty but fragile

PAKISTAN is set for its busiest mountaineering season in over a decade, with over 1,400 climbers from across the...
LNG crisis
Updated 27 Jun, 2022

LNG crisis

Global LNG shortages have sent the fuel’s price spiralling to record highs.
Bloc politics
27 Jun, 2022

Bloc politics

USING the platform of the 14th BRICS Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made some interesting observations...
KCR dream
27 Jun, 2022

KCR dream

RAILWAYS Minister Saad Rafique has basically clarified what many a commuter in Karachi has known for long: true and...