PESHAWAR, April 4: The construction work on the Gomal Zam dam, which was suspended in 2004 following the kidnapping of Chinese engineers, will resume this month, officials told Dawn on Wednesday.

They said the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had asked the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), which had got the contract to undertake the remaining work, to start the construction work from April 6.

Wapda has also asked the authorities at the civil secretariat, Fata, to ensure security arrangements at the site.

A senior security official at the civil secretariat told Dawn that the executing agency had been requested to reschedule the work inception plan.

“Work on the project is scheduled for April 6. However, the political administration needs some time to deploy law-enforcement agencies personnel on the project site and Wapda has agreed to our request,” the official added.

M/S CWHEC-HPE, a joint venture of two Chinese firms, had been given the contract of the dam in August 2002 which was to be completed by June 2006. The firm, however, suspended the work on the project in 2004 after the kidnapping of its two engineers reportedly by tribal militants. One of the engineers died in a rescue operation conducted by military commandoes in South Waziristan.

The Chinese firm, the officials said, had secured the contract for building the Gomal Zam dam for $52 million but later demanded $129 million and an additional 27 months to complete the project following the kidnapping of its engineers.

The demand was turned down and the contract was given to the FWO at an estimated cost of over Rs10 billion.

The company has to complete the project within three years.Having a height of 437 feet, the Gomal Zam dam is located on the Gomal river, which is one of the significant tributaries of the Indus river.

The dam is expected to irrigate about 163,000 acres of land. It will be a roller-compacted concrete dam having a gross storage of 1.14 MAF and will produce 17.4mw of electricity.

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