Land acquisition for Diamer-Bhasha dam: NA body fails to finalise report about process
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Sub-Committee of Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan failed on Friday to finalise an interim or final report about the process of acquisition of land for Diamer-Bhasha Dam. Meeting of the Sub-Committee was held under the chair of MNA Khalil George at the Parliament House. In a brief meeting, the committee members decided to refer the matter back to the Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan to formulate criteria for the land acquisition.
The federal government has allocated Rs 32 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2016-17 for construction of Diamer- Bhasha Dam. The dam is termed to be one of the most important energy projects of the country as it would generate around 4500 megawatts electricity, besides being a major water reservoir.
The committee members were briefed that about 80 percent of the required land for the dam has already been bought while sufficient funds have been allocated for the remaining 20 percent of the land. The land acquisition process, which began in 2010 after signing an agreement with the landowners, was to be completed by December 31, 2013, but it was stalled due to delay in payment of compensation within the agreed time frame.
The sub-committee was informed that the government could arrange only Rs 10 billion out of the total cost of Rs 54 billion for acquisition of the required land. The members were also informed that a new agreement was reached with the people displaced by the project in January 2015, for which a 25 percent increase was approved by the ministerial committee on June 22, 2015. Convener of the sub-committee Khalil George said that it was an important issue and involves a number of land owners and other stakeholders; therefore the matter is being referred back to the Standing Committee to take a final decision on it.