RAWALPINDI, Jan 3: President General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said that paramilitary forces would take action against miscreants and restore the writ of the government.

Addressing the 94th corps commanders conference at the GHQ, he said the government would protect national installations and continue with development activities.

According to an Inter-Service Public Relations release, he talked at length on the impact of water shortage on Pakistan which also needed cheap electricity for growth. “Building water reservoirs is the answer,” he emphasized.

He said Pakistan required water to irrigate its farmlands and added that water in the desired quantity could not be obtained without making three major dams by 2020. “We are working on a ‘Water Vision 2020’ to ensure maximum utilization of reservoirs and protection of the provinces’ rights.”

Gen Musharraf said that reports of parliamentary and technical committees were unanimous on the construction of big dams.

Although Kalabagh, Bhasha and Skardu dams are all to be built, “but we have to decide the issue keeping in view the time factor, usefulness and problems relating to these projects,” he said, adding that Kalabagh dam could be completed earlier as compared to other projects.

He said that big reservoirs would help provide sufficient irrigation water to all the provinces and pointed out that these dams would also generate 10,000mw of electricity which would be used for industrial development.

He praised Pakistan Army troops for carrying out relief operations despite adverse weather conditions in the quake-affected areas. He exhorted all ranks to continue the work with the same zeal.

The conference reviewed the security situation, operational preparedness, training and other matters of professional interest. The conference, chaired by President Musharraf, was attended by all corps commanders and Principal Staff Officers.

Briefing the conference, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) chairman Lt-Gen Muhammad Zubair said that over 400,000 houses demolished in the Oct 8 disaster would have to be built.

He said that new houses would be earthquake resistant and local material would be used to build these units on modern lines. He said that Rs180 billion would be spent on reconstruction and rehabilitation works in quake-hit areas in the next four months.

The Erra chief informed the conference that eight to nine construction material hubs would be developed up in the affected areas to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the building material.

He said there would be safeguards to obviate black-marketing, hoarding and shortage of building material. He said reconstruction activity would begin in early April.

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