LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has finally awarded the contract for civil and electro-mechanical construction works at the Mohmand Dam Project to a joint venture between China Gezhouba Group of Companies (CGGC) and Descon Pakistan.
“Wapda has successfully realigned the project after a delay of decades, removing the legal, financial and technical snags. However, the project will phenomenally contribute towards water, food and energy security of Pakistan,” said the Wapda chairman while speaking on the ceremony held to announce the project.
“By awarding the contract worth Rs183.523 billion, we have saved Rs18bn from the approved PC-I”, claimed the Wapda in a press release.
The contract was approved on Feb 22, however, the agreement was formally signed between the representatives of Wapda, CGGC and Descon Pakistan on Tuesday.
It will add 800MW to the national grid
“We are committed to completing the project as early as possible to cope with the ever increasing needs of water and electricity in the country,” said Wapda Chairman Retd. Lt. Gen Muzammil Hussain. He added that construction of Mohmand Dam will go a long way in stabilising the national economy besides alleviating poverty and ushering in an era of development for the area surrounding the project.
The project was marred by controversy after opposition parties cited conflict of interest as Wapda awarded the project to Descon, which is owned by Adviser to Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.
Opposition leader and Chairman PML-N Shahbaz Sharif termed the government’s act of cancelling the project’s second bidding on technical grounds “a bid to facilitate adviser’s company [Descon]”. He also demanded the government to review the bidding process but the decision, which was based on a single bid, was defended by government saying the process was lawful.
The project is historic and unique in nature as it is being constructed on Swat River in Mohmand district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is scheduled to be completed in five years and eight months.
On completion, the dam will store about 1.2 million acres feet (MAF) of water, generate 800MW of hydel electricity and help contain floodwaters in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera.
Besides supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, about 16,700 acres of new land will also be irrigated because of the dam. In addition, the project will also provide 300m gallons of drinking water to the residents of Peshawar. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs51.6bn.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2019