Mohmand Dam inauguration ceremony postponed for the second time

11:54 PM | 13 Jan, 2019
Mohmand Dam inauguration ceremony postponed for the second time

PESHAWAR – The inauguration ceremony of the Mohmand Dam has been postponed again this month.

In a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and State Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, it was decided that the groundbreaking ceremony of the much awaited dam project would be held on January 17.

Mohmand Dam is a proposed multi-purpose concrete-faced rock-filled dam located on the Swat River approximately 37 km north of Peshawar and 5 km upstream of Munda Headworks in Mohmand District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Its inaugural ceremony was to be held on January 2 but was rescheduled due to a controversy that emerged following the award of the contract of the hydropower project.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who has paid special attention to the issue of water scarcity and had ordered the creation of the Dams Fund in July last year ─ had expressed his displeasure for changing the date set for the groundbreaking ceremony of Mohmand Dam and even refused to attend.

“You changed the date without informing us and did not even think it was appropriate to tell the top judge. The government does not even have the courtesy to ask the chief justice regarding changing the date, now I might not go to the groundbreaking ceremony,” the top judge had remarked.

“The prime minister saw his schedule and changed the date, he did not see that we also have work. Now tell the prime minister to go inaugurate Mohmand Dam himself,” he added.

The top judge and PM Imran Khan were to be the chief guests of Sunday’s event.

Last month, the dam contract was awarded on a single-bid basis to a consortium of three companies led by Descon, a company previously by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, in which he and his family members currently hold ownership stakes.

China Gezhouba has 70 per cent share in the project while Descon and Voith Hydro have 30 per cent combined.

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The Rs309 billion Mohmand dam will be situated on the Swat river in the Manda area.

Once completed, the dam is expected to generate 740 MW of hydroelectricity, irrigate 15,100 acres of land and control floods downstream. It is expected to provide numerous estimated annual benefits including Rs4.98 billion in annual water storage benefits, Rs19.6 billion in power generation benefits by generating 2.4 billion units of electricity annually and Rs79 million in annual flood mitigation benefit.

Work on the dam will begin this month and is expected to be complete within five years. A sum of Rs2 billion has been allocated for the project in the Public Sector Development Programme 2018-19.