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ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Water Resources on Thursday revealed that development work on mega hydropower projects is suspended including Dasu Dam project.

Briefing National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources, presided over by Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Secretary Water Resources, Dr. Shahzeb Khan Bangash said that civil work on hydropower projects has been stalled since the attack on Chinese engineers in July this year. He said negotiations with the Chinese government are under way. He hoped that work will resume very soon.

The committee also deliberated on advance payment of Rs4.5 billion to the contractor of Dasu project.

The Committee discussed short supply of water to Punjab by Indus River System Authority (IRSA), moved by Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood MNA in National Assembly on July 13, 2021.

Chairman IRSA Saif Anjum informed the committee that Punjab has faced 34 per cent shortage on Chashma Right Bank Canal, adding that less water was released on Chashma Right Bank Canal despite the fact that there was no shortage.

Chairman, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Lt. General Muzammal Hussain (retired) said that water release is the responsibility of IRSA, adding that whatever water is made available to Wapda it releases to the provinces.

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Member IRSA from KP argued that there are reasons for the shortage of water, adding that main canal requires to be cleaned.

The Committee was informed that Punjab's border starts after 80 kilometres due to which losses are higher.

Khawaja Shiraz opposed taking control of Chashma Bank Canal away from Wapda and giving it to provinces as was decided in the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

"If control of Chashma Right Bank Canal is transferred to provinces, it would be unfair as my area would be totally deprived of water," said Khawaja Shiraz.

Commenting on views of Khawaja Sheraz, Chairman Wapda said that both provinces (Punjab and KP) are seeking control of Chashma Right Bank Canal, suggesting if this has not been done then the CCI should be approached.

Chairman IRSA proposed that the lower part of Chashma Right Bank Canal should be given to Punjab, adding that the province will adjust employees of Wapda working on this part of the canal.

The officials of Ministry of Water Resources apprised the Committee that Punjab is being given control of its part of the Canal and agreement is almost near finalisation.

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The Water Resources Committee directed that the decision of CCI should be followed with respect to control of Chashma Right Bank Canal.

Member IRSA Sindh, Zahid Hussain Junejo said that Sindh is not being provided water as per the Water Accord, claiming that Guddu barrage and Kotri barrage witnessed 35 per cent and 60 per cent shortfall, respectively.

However, Chairman IRSA negated the claims of Member IRSA Sindh, saying that the water regulator distributes available water amongst the provinces as per the Accord.

The officials of Sindh Irrigation Department rebuffed the water figures presented by Chairman IRSA. "Chairman IRSA is presenting fudged figures to the Committee. Sindh faced four percent more shortage than Punjab in Kharif," Sindh Irrigation officials claimed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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