New dams vital to bolster agriculture, achieve self-sufficiency in food: Khursheed Shah

Khursheed Shah for speed up rescue, relief operations
Khursheed Shah for speed up rescue, relief operations

MOHMAND, Jun 02 (APP): Federal Minister for Water Resources, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah here on Thursday said that construction of new dams were vital for bolstering agriculture productivity, fulfilling people’s water requirements and achieving self-sufficiency in food.

Talking to media persons after visiting different sections of the under- construction Mohmand dam costing Rs 309.6 billion, the Federal Minister said this multifaceted project was very important for the country’s economic and agricultural water needs besides providing clean drinking water to Peshawar and adjoining areas.

He said 20 percent work on Mohmand dam has been completed while the remaining work would be completed by 2026. “Pakistan is an agricultural country and construction of new dams is required to bolster agriculture production and ensure food security,” he said.

He said large dams have a direct impact on the economy and if four new dams were built then not only our economic and agricultural growth would improve but immensely help in paying out of the country’s debts.

With completion of Mohmand dam, he said, the water shortage problem of Peshawar would be addressed. Over 300 million gallons of water per day would be provided to Peshawar from Mohmand dam for drinking purposes with Rs957 million benefits.

Likewise, the project would provide 2.86 billion units of environmentally friendly electricity to the national grid every year with an estimated Rs45.76 billion annual revenue.

The Mohmand dam hydro-power project is being constructed on River Swat about five kilometers upstream of Munda headworks in Mohmand district. Construction work on Mohmand dam is progressing at a good pace and despite COVID-19 pandemic, work on the project continued on its 14 different sites.

Federal Minister Khursheed Shah said that there was a time when Pakistan had provided Rs200 million financial assistance to Germany.

To a question, Khursheed Shah said Pakistan can’t afford political instability and chaos. He said the people of KP would make Imran Khan accountable for his broken promises in the 2023 general election.

“Where are one million jobs, five million houses and one billion trees in Khyber Pakthunkhwa,” he said, adding the PTI government has failed to address the peoples’ problems and economic issues despite obtaining about Rs 22,000 billion record loans during last three and half years.

To a question about Imran Khan’s recent statement about Pakistan’s split, Syed Khurhseed Shah strongly deplored it and said that Pakistan was an atomic power and no one can cast an evil eye on it.

He said Pakistan has a powerful army which is always ready for safeguarding the motherland besides countering any external and internal challenges.

He said that the coalition government was working tirelessly to take the country out of existing economic and other challenges and put the economy back on track. “The government will complete its tenure and the election will be held on time,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister was given a comprehensive briefing on Mohmand dam by the Wapda authorities.

He was informed that Mohmand dam’s gross storage capacity is 1.293 million acres feet (MAF) and 800 megawatt power generation capacity.

Besides supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, the Minister was informed that about 18,237acres of new land would be irrigated while its annual benefits are estimated at Rs 2.23 billion.

The project would help protect Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera from floods with annual Rs45.76 billion revenue in terms of flood mitigation. The overall benefits of the project stand at Rs51 billion.

The Minister was further informed that over 6,100 jobs would be created for technical manpower and laborers during construction of the dam.

Khurshid Shah directed Wapda authorities to expedite work on this mega project so that it could be completed within stipulated time and people could be largely benefited.