Punjab govt rejects Bahria Town's offer, says will build Dadhocha Dam on its own

Published April 30, 2019
Government tells court the dam will be built by 2021. — AFP/File
Government tells court the dam will be built by 2021. — AFP/File

The Punjab government on Tuesday, during a hearing in the Supreme Court, rejected Bahria Town's offer to build the Dadhocha Dam.

In 2006, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) had purchased 18,000 kanals near Rawalpindi at the site where the dam was to be built, and launched a housing scheme as a joint venture with Bahria Town. The DHA Valley scheme, meant for the bereaved families of martyred military personnel, was proposed at the dam site.

On Aug 4, 2015, the SC in a suo motu case had directed the Punjab government to construct the dam at the originally proposed site. Soon after these directives, the provincial government had banned the sale and purchase of land in the area and later allocated funds for the construction of the dam in its annual development plan for 2017-18.

On the SC's directives, the Punjab government in 2017 initiated the process to construct the dam at a cost of Rs7 billion to overcome the water shortage in Rawalpindi.

During a November 2018 hearing of the case, headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, the court observed that a joint venture between Bahria Town and DHA was ready to construct the dam for free and added that the cabinet should make a final decision after reviewing their suggestions.

At the time, the court had said that the Punjab government should inform the cabinet if they wanted to construct the dam themselves.

During today's hearing, representatives of the Punjab Irrigation Department told the bench, headed by Justice Azmat Saeed, that the dam will be built by the government itself and that construction will be completed by December 2021.

The secretary of the irrigation department told the court that the government's experts had looked over Bahria Town's offer in detail. Technical experts raised a total of 108 questions on Bahria town's proposal, the secretary told the court.

He then said that the government will carry out the court's order on the matter in letter and spirit. He repeated that the dam would be built within two and a half years.

On the government's assurance that the dam would be built in the given time, the court wrapped up the case.

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