ISLAMABAD - The controversial Kalabagh Dam once again echoed in a parliamentary committee yesterday as PPP lawmaker Nafisa Shah criticised Wapda chairman for his columns written in newspapers about construction of KBD.

In a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms, MNA Nafisa Shah raised objection over Wapda chairman Zafar Mehmud for writing articles on the controversial Kalabagh Dam project. The committee met with MNA Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail in chair to discuss Tarbella’s fourth Extension Hydro Power Project (1410MW) Swabi, 1200-MW LNG-based power plant Blaoki and on 1200-MW LNG-based power plant Haveli Bahadur Shah.

PPP’s Nafisa Shah brought the matter to the panel. “It is regretful that Wapda chairman is writing articles in favour of construction of controversial Kalabagh Dam,” she said and added that three provincial assemblies had adopted resolutions against the construction”. Zafar had written a series of columns in Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation.

“You are a public servant and sitting chairman and therefore cannot write on the controversial issue, Nafisa Shah said.

Wapda chairman said he was bringing truth forward and no one could stop him from writing columns. He reiterated that he will keep writing on the issue.

The committee also discussed the suspension of work on Tarbella’s 4th tunnel. The committee was informed that due to increase in water level after pre-monsoon rains the water level in the reservoir had increased which compelled the contractor to discontinue work. The committee asked why they didn’t plan in advance for the season? The committee also raised questions about the height and quality of coffor dam built for the protection of the people from the water.

The completion date for the project is June 2017 which is hard to achieve now.

The committee was informed that saving of foreign exchange of US$ 900 million was expected after the completion of Tarbella’s 4th extension hydropower project. The committee recommended that the project may be completed on time on priority basis. The committee showed satisfaction over the progress of Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah, RLNG projects. The committee was also informed that both the projects were awarded through international bidding on Levelized Energy Cost (LEC) in accordance with PPRA rules. MNAs, Ch Jaffar Iqbal, Syed Muhammad Athar Hussain Shah Gillani, Tariq Christopher Qaiser, Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Ms. Shaheen Shafiq, Ms. Shazia Farid, Mrs.Shamas-un-Nisa, Dr. Nafisa Shah, Mr. Junaid Akbar, Sheikh Salahuddin, Mr. Sher Akber Khan and Mr. Iftikhar-ud-Din attended the meeting, besides officials of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and Ministry of Water and Power.