25 January 2007
The News International
Islamabad: In a major development, the government has enforced section 4 on the site of the Diamer-Bhasha dam to initiate the process of acquiring the land required for the construction of the reservoir, a senior government official told The News. The $7 billion Diamer-Bhahsa dam will have a storage capacity of 6.34 MAF as against the earlier proposed 7.34 MAF. 'However, it will have a power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts. The enforcement of section 4 is mandatory prior to the acquisition of the land for the dam. The government under section 4 has banned the sale and purchase of the land needed for the reservoir. The sale and purchase of land to be used for the dam has been implemented both in the Northern Areas and the NWFP, which fall in the dam area. The official said the revenue department of the Northern Areas and the NWFP have been given certain directions to this effect. He said after the ban on purchase and sale of land through the imposition of section 4, the price of land would be worked out under a certain formula and the government would pay the price to the land owner accordingly. The official said that in the CDWP meeting that is going to be held tomorrow (January 27), the committee headed by Secretary Water And Power Ashfaq Mehmood, which was constituted to make detailed implementation plan of five big dams announced by President General Pervez Musharraf in his speech to the nation on January 17, 2006, would unveil the plan for approval. In the plan, the committee would inform that the construction process of Diamer-Bhasha dam has begun by enforcement of section 4. The official said a huge amount of Rs27.824 billion is required for the acquisition of land and resettlement of the people to be affected in the wake of the construction of the dam. Under the proposed project, Rs10.76 billion will be spent for the acquisition of agriculture-barren land, tree and nurseries and Rs1.638 billion to be utilised for properties & infrastructure, Rs8.8 billion for establishment of nine model villages, Rs62.119 million for pay & allowances for administrative arrangements, and Rs17.7 million for contingent administrative expenses. The project also includes an escalation cost of Rs2.234 billion at the rate of 6 per cent per year for five years and interest of Rs4.309 billion during the implementation at the rate of 9 per cent.