ISLAMABAD   -  The ministry of water resources, while showing its reservation towards the bidding process of the 100 small dams in Balochistan, said that with the current pace it would not be possible to complete the work on the project in 50 years.

The government of Balochistan is the execution body of the small dams and the ministry of water resources has conveyed their objection over the bidding process, said an official of the Ministry of water resources while briefing the Senate standing committee on water resources here.

The committee that met with Senator Shamim Afridi in the chair was also informed that Chiniot dam is being constructed on Chenab river in Punjab. Chiniot dam is being constructed at the point where river Chenab width reduces to 400 meters. The reservoir can store 0.9 million acre feet (MAF) of water and will generate 80MWs electricity. The dam would have 35 kilometer of water reservoir that would cost Rs60 billion and would be completed in four years. This project would affect 62000 inhabitants of the area. The Federal Planning Commission requested the committee to include Punjab province in its construction as the dam is located in Punjab. For this purpose, the committee summoned the Punjab government’s representatives and the officials of the provincial irrigation department.

After taking briefing on the under construction dams in Balochistan, the committee expressed dismay over the pace of work and progress on these dams.

Secretary ministry of water resources Shumail Ahmad Khwaja, while briefing the committee, said that the ministry has asked the government of Balochistan to review the bidding process for awarding the contract for the small dams.

The committee was informed that there are 29 dams which are being constructed with a combined cost of Rs64 billion, but unfortunately only five billion rupees have been released which is very much insufficient.

The committee directed that those dams, which have been completed by 50 percent and from which drinking water would be supplied, should be given more preference and should be released further Rs5 billion for their early completion.

Secretary of the Balochistan Irrigation department told the committee that his department is working on six dams and with the pace the funds being released, its completion is not possible in time. The committee was informed that only two construction firms qualified for its construction.

On this, the committee expressed anger and said that instead of selecting the favorite firms, more and more firms must be called for their timely completion.

Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda informed the committee that the government is taking special interest in resolving the issues of Balochistan and would make all-out efforts for its development.

Senator Usman Kakar said that there is severe shortage of water. These dams should be included in preferential list and built at earliest that are supplying drinking water to Quetta city.

The committee directed rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) must be followed to ensure transparency.

The meeting was attended by senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Hasil Khan Bazenjo, Usman Khan Kakar,Quratul Ain Marri, secretary water resources Shamail Ahmad Khawaja, Secretary Irrigation department Balochistan Saleem Awan, Joint secretary Syed Meher Ali Shah and member Water WAPDA Muhammad Arshad Chuadhry.