PESHAWAR, Feb 22: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday demanded the review of Ghazi Barotha hydropower project due to objection to its design.
“Ghazi Barotha project should be revisited because its execution is not in line with the original design. The undue spanning of canal has caused severe water shortage in parts of our province. We’ll not allow anyone to steal our water,” provincial information minister told a seminar at the Peshawar Press Club.
Watan Welfare Society (WWS) organised the seminar titled ‘Water Supply Scheme to the Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi’.
The minister said Awami National Party had strongly resisted the construction of Kalabagh Dam and would go all-out to get the Ghazi Barotha project’s design reviewed as per the original plan.
He said the agreement of Ghazi Barotha hydropower project had been violated due to increase in the spanning of the relevant canal and therefore, water of the canal should be re-diverted.
Mr Hussain said it was unfortunate that rivers in the province had dried up but the Ghazi Barotha canal had a good flow of water.
He said it was surprising that the province had been deprived of its water resources though Council of Common Interest, which was the right forum to discuss such matters, had never approved the Ghazi Barotha project.
The minister said the project had led to the drying up of many tube wells in Swabi and thus, causing severe shortage of water in the area.
“After 18th Constitutional amendment, provinces have got more powers. Now, no one can occupy resources of others,” he said.
Earlier, WWS chairman Dr Mehsud told participants that the CDA chairman and China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC) recently signed an agreement of water supply project to Islamabad and Rawalpindi on June 5, 2012 without taking Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on board.
He said the government and bureaucracy in the centre were bent on taking control of water reservoirs of the province.
“Bids are being made to create problems for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Kalabagh Dam, Akori Dam and supply of water to Punjab from the province are a few instances to mention in this respect,” he said.
Mr Mehsud said the Ghazi Barotha project was designed during the Musharraf government by CDA and Rawalpindi Development Authority without permission from Indus River System Authority and the KP government.
He said the former provincial government of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal had opposed the project and even the provincial assembly in 2007 had adopted a resolution unanimously against the supply of water from the Indus River to twin cities.
“As a result of that resolution, work on the project came to a halt. However, CDA and the Chinese firm recently signed an MoU for supplying 200 million gallons of water from Ghazi Barotha to Islamabad and Rawalpindi on daily basis,” he said.
Speakers Dr Said Alam Mehsud, Shahab Khattak, Mukhtar Bacha, Maryam Bibi and Ijaz Hoti expressed surprise that if the provincial government had not approved the project, then how its MoU was signed.
They demanded of the provincial government to take up the matter with the centre to ensure that the local residents were not deprived of their resources.