GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government has decided to demand its share of water user charges and net hydel profit of the Diamer Bhasha dam from the federal government.

While chairing a high-level meeting on Thursday in Islamabad, GB Chief Minister Haji Gulber Khan constituted a committee to prepare recommendations which will be submitted to the federal government.

It has been decided in light of these recommendations that the government of Gilgit-Baltistan will submit its recommendations regarding the determination of net hydel profit and water user charges of Diamer Bhasha dam share between GB and the federal government.

The meeting was attended by GB Law Minister Sohail Abbas, Interior Minister Shams Lone, Agriculture Minister Engineer Anwar, GB Investment Board Chairman and Assembly Member Fathullah Khan and Special Assistant to Chief Minister Maulana Sarwar Shah.

Committee reviews progress on Diamer Bhasha, Mohmand dams land disputes

The special committee comprises GB’s ministers for power, law, agriculture and power secretary.

It will visit Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within 10 days to study their sharing formula with the federation and prepare recommendations.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Khan said the Diamer Bhasha Dam project will result in development and prosperity and that the people of GB, especially Diamer, have made great sacrifices for its construction.

He added that a committee was formed at the federal level in 2017 to resolve the boundary dispute between the Kohistan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Diamer and to determine the net hydel profit share.

However, the committee only focused on the boundary dispute, the CM added

The GB government wants the share of net hydel profit to be decided so that the project is not affected due to the reservations of locals, said CM Khan.

The net hydel profit is paid by the centre to provinces where dams and reservoirs are located, as per Article 161(2) of the Constitution, which states, “The net profits earned by the federal government, or any undertaking established or administered by the federal government from the bulk generation of power at a hydro-electric station shall be paid to the province in which the hydro-electric station is situated.”

Committee reviews projects

Separately, the Implementa­tion Committee on Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD), constituted by the Supreme Court, met on Thursday to review the status of land acquisition and resettlement of displaced people.

The meeting was convened at the request of the ICDBMD sub-committee on land acquisition and resettlement.

Wapda Chairman retired Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani chaired the meeting, which was also attended by the GB chief secretary, senior member Board of Revenue Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Finance Division joint secretary, KP additional chief secretary (Development), Hazara Division commissioner, Diamer deputy commissioner and other officials.

The Wapda chairman acknowledged the progress made by the sub-committee and expressed hope that the GB government will soon finalise a strategy to proceed on the issue.

The Diamer-Astore Division commissioner briefed the meeting about the status of household and missing chulha (household) cases as well as terms of reference for the grievances and redressal committee formed to solve the issue.

Later, Wapda member finance, Diamer Bhasha Dam CEO, Mohmand Dam GM, Mohmand deputy commissioner and Wapda and director legal updated the participants about the compliance of decisions made by ICDBMD in its meeting held in December 2023.

The committee was formed by former Supreme Court chief justice Saqib Nisar while hearing a case on the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

Wapda is constructing Diamer Bhasha Dam on the Indus River to store 8.1 million acre-feet (MAF) of water and generate 4,500 MW of hydel electricity. It is scheduled for completion in 2028.

Mohmand Dam is being built on Swat River to store 1.2 MAF of water and generate 800 MW of electricity. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2024

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