Govt yet to receive Diamer-Bhasha money, NA body told

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed on Friday that Rs12 billion collected for Diamer-Bhasha Dam has not yet been transferred to the government’s account.

The NA body was told that the government had released Rs87 billion for the construction of dam whereas Rs894 billion were required for the completion of the project.

“The project, after completion in eight years, will produce 4,500MW electricity,” officials told the NA body.

Committee member Maryam Aurangzeb asked for the details of expenditure incurred upon Diamer-Bhasha advertisements given to local and international newspapers and TV channels.

Khawaja Asif noted that according to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Pakistan Television (PTV) was not paid for the advertisements.

He said it was imperative that the parliament was informed as to how much money was spent, out of the total collected funds, on advertisements in the name of construction of Diamer/Bhasah Dam.

The committee directed the officials to clarify in the next meeting the latest position of funds deposited for the dam as well as the expenditure incurred on advertisement through electronic and print media.

The NA body refused to confirm the minutes of its previous meeting with direction to the Ministry of Water Resources to take up the issue of power station proposed to be constructed at Chashma Jhelum Link Kanal in the next Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting expected to be held in near future.

The committee also discussed the issue of conservation of water and directed the ministry to chalk out a mechanism to assess the supply and demand aspects of water. It directed the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to install a telemeter on the main rivers’ headworks and present a thorough report before the committee in the next meeting.

The committee also discussed the irrigated water resource management issue and recommended that sufficient funds be allocated for this purpose to all the provinces, while grassroots public awareness be started through seminars and electronic/print media in which the importance of clean water should be highlighted to the nation.

MNAs Fazal Muhammad Khan, Ali Nawaz Awan, Ch Shoukat Ali Bhatti, Dr Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla, Naureen Farooq Khan, Nuzhat Pathan, Khalid Hussain Magsi, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Riazul Haq, Maryam Aurangzaib, and Munir Khan Orakzai, along with the parliamentary secretary for water resources and Punjab irrigation minister attended the meeting.

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