Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was held here at Parliament House on Tuesday with Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah in Chair.
The Senate Committee was briefed about the affectees of Tarbela Dam and payment made to affectees so far. Officials apprised that 82,109 acres land were acquired for tarbela dam and 96,000 people were affected in result of acquisition. However, affectees were paid compensation and the owners of 04 kanal agriculture land and 16 kanals barani land were also offered state land in Punjab and Sindh after the payment of compensation amount, officials stated.
They further added that around 60,000 acres land was allocated by Government of Pakistan,of which, 30,000 acres was provided by Punjab and 10,000 acres was provided by Sindh. Representative of affectees maintained that 449 affectees have not paid any compensation. However officials informed that around 450 affectees moved to the Peshawar High Court and court in its verdict, directed the WAPDA to consider the eligibility of affectees and eventually one affectee was found eligible. Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah was of view that affectees of Tarbela dam have surrender their lands for the larger interest of the country and they should be compensated at every cost. He formed a Sub-Committee to consider the eligibility of 449 affectees and nominated Senator Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand as the convener.
The committee also discussed the issue of cracks and damages in the tunnels of the Neelum Jhelum project. Muhammad Arfan,CEO of the Neelum Jhelum project, reported that the tunnel spans 57.5 kilometers and encountered initial blockage in July of the previous year. However,repair work commenced in August 2022 and is expected to be completed by the end of July. The Chairman Committee instructed the Chairman of WAPDA to provide an explanation regarding the causes of tunnel damage in the next meeting.
In addition, the committee addressed the matter of allowances for employees working under the Tarbela Dam Authority. Officials disclosed that 843 employees are working in the water wing, while 1129 employees are employed in the power wing. It was noted that the employees in the power wing receive a "Generation Allowance" that is not extended to other employees. The committee directed the authority to rectify this disparity and ensure that equal pay is provided to all employees.
While discussing the reasons of leakage in Gadwalian Dam, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah lamented the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa irrigation department and stated that despite spending around Rs. 1219.185 Million on the construction of dam, department has failed to identify the causes of leakage. He directed the KPK Irrigation department to conduct a 'Rim Survey' of the dam and submit it's report in the next meeting.
Attendees at the meeting included Senator Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, Senator Gurdeep Singh, Senator Taj Haider, Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt, Senator Khalida Sikandar Mandhro and the concerned officials of Ministry of Water Resources and relevant departments.