RAWALPINDI: Water supply to six union councils from Chahan Dam may suffer as the post of land collector in Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has been lying vacant ever since the previous one got suspended. This is the main cause of delay in work on the Leh Expressway Project.

RDA has asked the district administration to help in land acquisition for the project besides others. The previous one, Waseem Tabish, was suspended due to his alleged involvement in the Rawalpindi Ring Road corruption case. The authority has been facing problems to acquire land for main projects.

Interestingly, in district Rawalpindi, the tehsildar seat has been vacant since the last two months after the transfer of Noor Zaman. District Revenue Department already sent a reference to Commissioner Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah to fill the vacant posts of tehsildar in Rawalpindi and Gujar Khan.

A senior official of RDA told Dawn that the divisional commissioner asked the RDA to speed up work on Leh Expressway but due to absence of a land collector, it failed to start the process of acquiring land for it.

He said the date for inauguration of the project was fixed by end of December but the civic body failed to complete survey of the area and verify it. The previous survey was conducted by the former land collector.

Leh Nullah Expressway’s total length will be 16.5 kilometres. As many as 1,604 houses fall in the right of way of Leh Expressway and 1,279 kanals is to be acquired - 1,035.9 kanals of private land, 132.4 kanals owned by Military Engineering and Works, 54.7 kanals of Chaklala Cantonment Board and 56 kanals of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board.

Apart from this, he said Wasa wants to start the project of water supply to bring 6 million gallons daily (MGD) of water from Chahan Dam for six union councils and it was required to acquire land for the construction of overhead and underground water tanks, filtration plant and a 15-km long supply line.

“Punjab government provided Rs1 billion for the water supply from Chahan Dam and the total cost was Rs5 billion. However, the Rs1 billion will be spent on land acquisition and if the land collector will not be available then the project will be further delayed,” he said.

Chahan Dam, near Chakri is being constructed by Punjab government on River Sill Kus and it is 22-km away from the garrison city.

A senior official of Wasa told Dawn that 150 kanals of land would be acquired and there was need of Rs650 million to get the land. He said that the land acquisition would likely to start in the next fiscal year (2022-23).

According to the plan, three structures will be constructed including intake chamber at Chahan, filtration plant in Chakri and pumping station at Ranyal. He said that 80 kanals of land will be for the filtration plant, 35 kanals of land each at Ranyal and Chakara.

He said that union councils which will be benefited by the dam are: Chakra, Girja, Chak Jalaldin 1 and 2, Kilial and Lakhan.

When contacted, RDA spokesman Hafiz Irfan confirmed that there was no land collector in the RDA after the suspension of Waseem Tabish and the government would soon appoint a new one or make any alternate in this regard to avoid delay in any project.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2021

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