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ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to reopen Rawal Dam and allied facilities for the general public in two weeks time after issuance of a formal security clearance by the Ministry of Interior.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the National Assembly panel, headed by Special Assistant to PM on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ali Nawaz Awan. Members National Assembly Chaudhry Hamid Hameed and Naureen Farooq Ibrahim also attended the meeting.

The panel urged chief engineer Rawal Dam to open the site immediately, but he expressed his reluctance to do so without formal approval of the chief minister. The chief engineer said the summary is already with the Finance Department Punjab with respect to fixing the rates of water to be released to CDA. He requested the panel to schedule the next meeting after two weeks, so that he could get a response from the provincial government.

On opening of Dam’s site, he said, either interior ministry should withdraw its letter of February last year about security threat or issue a new letter, indicating that now there is no security threat.

The officials of interior ministry promised to range a meeting between chief engineer Rawal Dam and the concerned officials to clear any ambiguity.

The panel also approved the decisions taken by the working committee to open facilities for the citizens with the following SOPs. (i) the Lake View Park shall remain open for general public. Environment Directorate of Capital Development Authority (CDA) shall keep improving its facilities for the visitors /tourists / general public; (ii) the site of Rawal Dam near Rawal Dam Chowk shall be called Rawal Park. It shall also be open and the Environment Directorate shall be responsible to manage / open it for general public. Moreover, similar to the Lake View Park, facilities shall be provided by the Environment Directorate of CDA, in Rawal Park, to the visitors tourists / general public;(iii) the car parking, of Rawal Park, shall be established outside the entry Gate No.1 ;(iv) the tuck shops, if any, shall be established near the entry gate 1. No tuck shop shall be allowed beyond that point.

However, this will not imply a ban on the use of already constructed Ex-Red Onion Hotel’s structure for any such activity by its owner;(v) Police shall ensure control of the public and security of the visitors;(vi) Environment Directorate of CDA shall ensure the installation of sufficient walk-through gates;(vii) Environment Directorate of CDA shall ensure the starting of boating both at Rawal Lake and Lake View Park but no motor boat shall be allowed in the Dam. However, all kinds of and shapes of roaming boats and paddle boats shall be allowed for general public / the visitors; (viii) Environment Directorate shall ensure that the boats shall keep away at least 350 feet from the spillway and other installations / places as may be communicated to the Environment Directorate of CDA by the project director Rawal Dam;(ix) the Environment Directorate shall ensure launching of tender in the process, as per PPRA Rules, and shall ensure the completion of the process and start of the activities by March 15, 2021. Thereafter, the contract shall be revised after every two years, without any termination of activity; (x) Fisheries Department shall ensure starting / opening of all kinds of fishing activity by 15 March 2021. However, the tenders, if any, shall be published on or before Feb 15, 2021;(xi) Environment Directorate shall be responsible for proper cleaning of the area of Lake View Park and the Rawal Park;(xii) the Auqaf Department of ICT shall take charge of the Masjid and the Mandir and ;(xiii) no visitor shall be allow to go beyond Gate No. 2. However, visitors shall be allowed to offer prayers in the Mosque. Similarly, Hindu visitors shall be allowed to go to the Mandir, for their religious activities.

The panel also constituted an implementation committee, which will liaise with the Secretary of the Water Resources Committee to expedite execution of the decisions taken at the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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