The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was held on Tuesday. Chaired by Senator Shamim Afridi; the meeting was attended by Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Qurat ul Ain Marri, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Gianchand and senior officers of the Ministry of Water Resources, Department of Irrigation, Sindh and Balochistan and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Shahi was a special invitee.
The agenda comprised compensation of affectees of Mirani Dam, the Neelam Jehlum Hydropower Project and PSDP proposals for the next fiscal year.
The Chairman lauded the measure of PKR 18 billion saved from the Mohmand Dam Project being allocated for the construction of Naulong Dam. While discussing the issue of compensation to the affectees of Mirani Dam, Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed said that this was a huge issue that had been pending since the last 11 years. He asserted that there is a marked difference in dollar rates and that the affectees must be compensated accordingly. Quoting a letter on behalf of 2700 affectees of Mirani Dam it was asserted that numerous upstream karez and orchards have been destroyed as a result of which mass migrations have taken place. Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Shahi informed the Committee that the affectees demand a 300 per cent increase in compensation rates.
Senator Ahmed Khan was of the view that this grave injustice be recompensed at the earliest. He said that as per Asian Development Bank rules; making complete payments to land owners and affectees was prerequisite to begin work on its projects. It was asserted that the Department of Finance and the Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan along with Deputy Commissioner Kech be summoned in the next meeting.
Regarding Neelum Jehlum Hydro Project the Committee was informed that this project is of extreme importance and work on it commenced on 30 January, 2008. To ensure that all parties are compensated fairly, a Tripartite Agreement was drafted that was approved for the payment of Net Hydel Profit and Water Usage Charges to AJ&K. The Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan asserts that under Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Net Hydel Profit is admissible only to the provinces. The Committee was informed that a result of these issues AJ&K is at loss. People’s lives have been distorted and mass migrations have taken place.
Senator Usman Khan Kakar stressed the need for payment to be made at the earliest so that the people of AJ&K may be recompensed. The Committee was informed that this matter has been referred to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and a decision is awaited. It was recommended that the matter must be referred to the Cabinet after the ECC decision. The Committee also deliberated over the PSDP proposals for the next fiscal year