Mangla Dam extension criticized
12 July 2000
MUZAFFARABAD: The speaker of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, on Wednesday urged the federal government to direct Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to abandon the proposed plan of the Mangla Dam''s extension.At a news conference, the speaker, who himself belongs to the Mirpur district, said Wapda had evolved a plan to raise the height of the water level in the Mangla Dam from 1,210 feet to 1,274 feet and to expand its covered area.Accompanied by the secretary general of the People''s Party and member of the legislative assembly, Chaudhry Latif Akbar, the speaker recalled that 20,000 families of Mirpur had already left their properties at the time of the construction of the dam in the 1960s.The then president had promised that the displaced families would be rehabilitated, but even after the elapse of over 50 years only 4,000 families had been rehabilitated and the remaining families were still landless, he added.Chaudhry Majeed added that instead of carrying out the extension plan, Wapda should pay attention towards desilting, which was not only cost-effective but could also yield better results.The speaker said Wapda teams were conducting surveys in the areas around the dam, but the local administration in Mirpur and the AJK government were expressing ignorance about the plan. Martyrs Day: The Kashmir Martyrs Day will be observed in Azad Kashmir, occupied Kashmir and Pakistan on Thursday.Public meetings, seminars and rallies will be held at different places where speakers will pay homage to those who embraced martyrdom in Kashmir.In Muzaffarabad, a big public meeting will be held at the Central Press Club under the aegis of the Kashmir Liberation Cell. The speaker of the legislative assembly, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former minister Chaudhry Latif Akbar and representatives of different political and religious groups and Kashmiri refugees will speak at the public meeting. REFUGEES: The acting prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar, announced here on Wednesday that Rs700 million has been earmarked for the relief and welfare of the refugee families pouring in AJK from the occupied Kashmir, adds APP from Mirpur.Addressing a news conference at the Kashmir Press Club here on Wednesday, Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar said the amount would also be spent for the well-being of the families of martyrs and the injured becoming the victims of the frequent firing by the Indian army on border villages adjacent to this side of the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir.He said a comprehensive plan had been chalked out by the government of Azad Jammu Kashmir for the welfare and rehabilitation of the occupied Kashmir''s refugees who have crossed into Azad Kashmir after facing Indian atrocities.Besides, the plan also involved the welfare and rehabilitation of the victims of the Indian army''s frequent firing and shelling on various border villages of Azad Jammu Kashmir, he said.The acting prime minister said that since he recently visited various border villages of Azad Kashmir spreading along 750 kilometres along the LoC, he found that 185 border villages were badly affected following frequent unprovoked firing with light and heavy weapons on the civil inmates of these villages, by Indian army from across the LoC.Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar said bunkers would be constructed in the border areas adjacent to this side of the 750kms long LoC in Azad Kashmir, following frequent violation of the LoC by India.