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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rs 40 Billion compensation package for Diamer-Bhasha dam affectees

ISLAMABAD, March 11 : A compensation package for affectees of the proposed Diamer-Bhasha Dam has been finalized in consultation with the local community.

The details were unfolded by Minister for Kashmirs Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Minister for Water and Power Raja Parvez Ashraf and Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah at a joint news conference here Thursday.

Mr. Wattoo, who headed the ministerial committee that finalized the package, said initially a compensation of 58 billion rupees was determined but it has now been reduced to 40 billion rupees. He said this is reflective of the patriotism of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said in all thirty-seven thousand acres of land would be acquired for construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam. Of this, compensation would be paid for eighteen thousand acres of land while the remaining land would be used free of cost for construction of the dam.

The Minister said the total land would be acquired in three years and compensation process would also be completed during this period. He clarified that survey for identification of the land has already been completed and no new survey would be carried out.

Wattoo said as per decision of the Ministerial Committee, local people would be given preference for job to be created during construction of the dam. Local people would also get preference for technical jobs as well. WAPDA would set up a polytechnic institute at Chilas to prepare local manpower to take up technical jobs.

He said it has also been decided that instead of previously decided five marla, the affected people would get one kanal piece of land for construction of residential houses. WAPDA has also offered to upgrade hospitals of Skardu and Chilas.

The Minister said construction of Diamer Bhasha dam, to be completed in eight years, would help increase the life of Tarbela dam between forty to forty five years. It would generate 4500 MW of electricity and would have storage capacity of 6.4 million acre feet.

He said the Prime Minister has also been requested to sanction Rs 600 million for construction of a heavy duty road needed for carrying heavy machinery and material for construction of the dam.

The Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the project involving an amount of $ 12 billion will be the largest project of the country. He said international financial institutions have offered assistance for this project. It will also enhance the life of Terbaila Dam by nearly forty years as silting coming into the dam will be checked.

To a question regarding Kalabagh Dam, the minister said three provinces have been opposing it and hence it cannot be taken up.

Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan, Syed Mahdi Shah appreciated the efforts of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for evolving consensus on this project.

He said nine model villages will be set up to accommodate nearly twenty-nine thousand affected people of the area. He said the affected people will be given one Kanal residentail and six Kanal agricultural land each in the same area.

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