MOHMAND, May 2 (APP)::Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday performed ground-breaking of the Mohmand Dam on Swat River in Mohmand district.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr Noorul Haq Qadri and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa were also present on the occasion. Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar attended the ceremony as a special guest.
Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, the prime minister reaffirmed his government’s commitment to bring lasting peace and prosperity for the tribal people.
He said the tribal areas were neglected by the previous regimes as no development work was carried out there, which resulted into social disparity. The development of the areas and uplift of their poor segments were the priority of present government, he added.
Imran Khan said economic stability had direct link with the peace in the region and the armed forces of Pakistan had successfully achieved that objective. For the purpose, a large number of security personnel laid down their lives.
The prime minister said he had visited all the tribal areas and found that the people had strong resolve to contribute in the national development. He was cognizant of the problems being faced by them and his government was taking steps to resolve them.
He said earlier today he had attended a local sports festival in Tirah Valley, which was a sign of restoration of peace in the area. More peace in the region would give more confidence to businessmen to invest there and that would ultimately create more employment opportunities, he added.
Referring to his recent visit to China, Imran Khan said the country had developed its economy at massive level during the past 30 years under its visionary leadership. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a depiction of China’s next 30 years’ planning to strengthen the economy in its western parts by establishing road connectivity. ‘By this, the Chines leadership will make the western areas economically developed at par with the eastern ones,” he added while elaborating economic planning system of China.
He said the government was working on the construction of five million houses with full commitment. The Chinese methodology of pre-fabricated material might be applied for the purpose.
The prime minister said unfortunately no visionary development planning had been made in the country in the past. There was no equal distribution of national wealth among the cities, he said citing that Lahore was given Rs 7,000 per capita development funds against Rs 2,500 per capita funds allocate to Rajanpur.
He announced Rs 4.5 billion funds for the development projects in of Mohmand, provision of Internet services, creating employment opportunities and establishment of more educational institutions.
He said Rs 100 billion per annum would be given to the tribal areas for development for next 10 years.
He said all the provinces were asked to contribute 3% share from the National Finance Commission funds for the development of tribal areas. That contribution by the provinces would help assist the tribal people as development in the tribal areas would benefit the whole country, he added.
“Your demands will be fulfilled, including that of trading with Afghanistan” he said. Pakistan was already willing to open more trading points on the border and for that peace across the whole country of Afghanistan was needed.
The prime minister said under a conspiracy, the tribal youth were being provoked against the state. The entire nation would have to be vigilant to counter such threat, he added.
The prime minister said the ‘Naya Pakista’ would be built on the pattern of State of Madina where the writ of law would be established. He said the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had set the foundation of the state on social and economic equality.
“The Holy Prophet (PBUH) once said he would even cut the hands of his own daughter if she was found guilty of theft,” he added.
The prime minister maintained that the State of Madina was a benchmark for modern welfare states.
He said when a wealthy politician was questioned about the source of his wealth, he propagated that democracy was in danger. ‘In fact such people make a hue and cry to hide their illegal wealth.”
The prime minister said foreign loans had increased in last 10 years from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion because of poor governance and corruption of last due governments.
The prime minister said no NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) would be given to any corrupt. Letting the corrupt go scot free would be betrayal and injustice to the nation, he added.
He praised WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen (Retd) Muzamil Hussain for his dedication and professional diligence towards the construction of dams.
The prime minster extended special gratitude to former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar for initiating campaign for collection of funds for dams construction. Till date Rs 10 billion had been collected in the fund, he added.
Earlier, the Wapda chairman and project director of the dam briefed the prime minister about salient features of the project.
On completion, the dam will generate an estimated annual energy of about 2862GWh, besides an active water storage reservoir of about 1.2MAF in addition to bringing about 17,000 acres barren land under cultivation directly.
Mohmand Dam is being constructed on the Swat River about 48 kilometers from Peshawar at confluence of Mohmand and Charsadda districts. Its reservoir area extends upstream to Mohmand, Bajaur and other northern districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Some 13.32 million cubic meter water will be supllied from Mohmand Dam reservoir to the Peshawar city for drinking purposes.
The dam will also address the long awaited problem of water scarcity in Mohmand district and will save Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and other districts from floods in future.
This mega project is the initiative of the Federal Government, which has huge potential to meet Pakistan’s energy and water requirements in terms of electricity generation and irrigation besides provision of clean drinking water to inhabitants of Peshawar.
The project is scheduled to be completed in five years i.e. 2024 with an estimated cost of Rs183billion and on completion will store around 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) of water and generate 800 Megawatts (MW) of hydel electricity.
It will alleviate poverty by providing job opportunities to thousands of people, including the locals in the project area and its annual benefits are estimated about Rs51.6 billion for the country.
Its construction will help national power policy achieve the dual goals of meeting Pakistan’s energy needs in a sustainable manner and ensuring generation of affordable electricity, while helping to reduce existing energy’s demand and supply gap.
The construction of 213 meters high Mohmand Dam will alleviate risk of flood damages to great extend in future. The water reservoir will also control river flow and minimize intensity of floods downstream, therefore, the reservoir would be a great source of flood’s protection and will save soil from fertile land from erosion.
Around 8675 acres land are being acquired for construction of requisite infrastructure at the dam site besides 56 kilometers long reservoir, irrigation network and re-regulation pond area.