Islamabad - Expressing surprise at 180 percent increase in the cost of RBOD-II and delay in land acquisition for the project, a parliamentary committee on Monday directed the Ministry of Planning to ask the Ministry of Railways and the Sindh government to expedite work on the project.

Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms that met under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani was told that the initial cost of RBOD-II Mega Drainage Project (extension from Sehwan to the sea) was Rs14 billion, but due to delays over the years its cost had now increased to Rs39 billion.

The committee was informed that the project had 73 percent physical presence and 64 percent financial progress.

The committee expressed surprise at increase in the cost of the project as well as delay in acquiring land for it, and directed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms to write to the Ministry of Railways and the Sindh Government to expedite their part of the work.

The committee also discussed in detail the compliance with the recommendations and directives given during the previous meetings.

It also expressed displeasure over delay in communication with the provincial government for identifying those responsible for undue delays in the completion of Nai Gaj Dam.

Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani asked the Ministry of Planning officials that on August 20, the committee had directed the ministry to write to the Sindh government to know the progress on investigation into delay in the completion of Nai Gaj Dam, but it was written on September 27.

Chairman of the committee questioned that why was the letter written after 37 days? He said that the ministry had ignored the directives.

He asked the ministry officials to keep reviewing progress on the Nai Gaj project and should not leave it at the mercy of WAPDA and the government of Sindh. “We have asked you several times to stop delaying developmental projects,” Durrani said to the Ministry of Planning officials.

A WAPDA official pointed it out to the Senate committee that one reason for delay in the completion of Nai Gaj Dam project was the slow release of funds by the Ministry of Planning.

The committee directed the concerned officials to have a review of the project. Regarding formation of a technical committee on investigation into K4, the committee was told that it was still underway.

The committee, while discussing the draft of ARE Policy, 2019, directed AEDB to submit to the committee a comparative analysis as to how the new policy was different from the previous one and what new incentives were being provided.

The committee was informed that draft of the policy would be submitted to the board of AEDB for approval.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Rukhsana Zuberi, Dr Asad Ashraf, Mir Kabeer Muhammad Shahi, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Additional Secretary Planning and WAPDA officials.