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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Punjab government to carry out work on spillways of the Dadhocha Dam. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard the case related to the construction of Dadhocha Dam.

The Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Qasim Ali Chohan, informed that 75 percent work on the spillways have been completed, adding due to the Lahore High Court (LHC) order, the work has been stopped.

He informed that for the construction of the dam, the first notification for land acquisition was issued in 2010, while for additional land, the second notification was issued last year (2020), which has been challenged before the LHC.

The LHC Rawalpindi Bench, in April 2021, issued a stay order stopping the Punjab Irrigation Department from carrying out work on the Dadhocha Dam. Rabnawaz and others had filed a writ petition that the dam administration was not paying them the price of their property being acquired for the dam according to the market rate. Justice Bandial questioned how the process for land acquisition could be halted due to the litigation. The bench; therefore, ordered to continue work on the spillways.

In 2019, the Punjab government had told the Supreme Court that it will complete the construction of the dam in 2021. The government has allocated Rs2.8 billion to purchase the land for the dam. The dam was proposed in 2001. The dam project also concerns the 35 million gallons per day (MGD) water reservoir of the dam, for supplying water to the garrison city, since the older reservoir of Rawal Dam has completed its life span of 50 years.

According to a study, the dam, once constructed, will have a storage capacity of 45,000 acres and will be able to supply 35 million gallons per day of water to the citizens of Rawalpindi. The feasibility study for Dadhocha Dam was approved during 2013-14, after which the irrigation department had hired consultants to move ahead with the project.

In 2002, a pre-feasibility study of site no 1 was carried out by the Small Dams Organisation, which remained under active consideration for construction of the dam, the study stated, adding to secure the area required for the proposed project, a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was also issued on November 3, 2010. The area falls in the jurisdiction of three Tehsils of Rawalpindi district namely, Rawalpindi, Kahuta, and Kallar Syedan.

The two new water reservoirs over Ling River and Soan River were planned after realising the population explosion, for which the location of Dadhocha Dam over Ling River was technically evaluated and subsequently, recommended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the petitioner said. In August 2015, the Punjab government had declared the present site for the dam as technically and economically more feasible.

The consultant had suggested that a very narrow gorge and a natural bowl-shaped reservoir was present at the site, which was ideal for the construction of the dam. It was mentioned in the study that site No 2 will have a storage capacity of 24,259 acres with 25 million gallons a day of water being supplied to the city. The hydrology at the site is rated suitable for sustainable water supply.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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