ISLAMABAD: The Implementation Committee on Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD) has approved a package of Rs 13 billion for the resettlement of over 4, 000 displaced families. After reviewing progress on the hydropower project, the implementation committee set up by the Supreme Court approved the package proposed by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan for setting up a model village.
In addition, every affected family of the area would be given Rs 4.7 million in case they decided against the plots in the model village. As per the sources, the Rs 13 billion package is an addition to Rs 58 billion, the amount used to acquire land for the dam.
Since the proposal was made by the regional government after due deliberations and meetings with the representatives of the affectees, almost all outstanding issues related to the dam on the part of government have been resolved. However, land and territorial disputes among the dam affectees are still in local courts.
The federal government has also been proposed that the Rs 13 billion may immediately be provided to the regional government for the early settlement of the dam-related issues. “In case, the Centre finds it difficult to pay the amount before the next budget, the required amount may be provided from the [CJP-PM] dam fund,” the GB government proposed.
With the approval of this package by the implementation committee, the earlier PC-I of the model village and resettlement plan will be revised, it was told.
Earlier, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) proposed to build at least nine model villages to rehabilitate the people affected by the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
During the meeting of the implementation committee, the GB chief secretary claimed the locals have reposed full confidence in the Resettlement Action Plan, which has paved the way for completion of land acquisition for Diamer Basha Dam Project.
The meeting held in Islamabad was presided over by WAPDA Chairman Muzammil Hussain and was attended by ICDBMD members and other officials.
During the meeting, the WAPDA chairman had reiterated that the Committee would continue to serve with same zeal against all odds. It may be noted here that the Diamer-Bhasha Dam is located 40 km downstream of Chilas, the district headquarters of Diamer.
Upon completion, it will displace 30,350 people living in 4,266 households of 32 villages, situated above the dam site on both left and right banks of Indus River. Total land required for the project is 37,419 acres which included 19,062 acres of state and 18,357 acres of private land under cultivation, barren and other uses.
- Most important meeting related to constitutional status of Gilgit Baltistan was held in Islamabad, attended by Governor, Chief Minister and Law Minister of GB, Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir, federal Law Minister, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Attorney General and senior military and civil officials. The meet considered order of the Supreme Court, recommendation of Sartaj Aziz Committee and possibility of the issue being presented in Parliament. Important sources say many of the issues were finalized in the meeting which continued for four hours. Opinion of all stake holders was also considered. Many meetings of this kind had been held but no solution could be found. For some time now, there are some important, positive and serious efforts are being made to finally resolve the issue of recognition of rights of the region, said senior observers. They said a break through may come in next few weeks. It is seen that in all steps taken and developments on the issue, Azad Kashmiri leadership is continuously being taken into confidence.
- Hundreds of Gilgit-Baltistan pilgrims are stuck at the Pak-Iran Border for past 6 days. Border security has kept in captivity hundreds of Gilgit-Baltistan pilgrims including children, women and elders, citing reason of security concern. Pilgrims were returning back from Iraq and Iran and are facing great difficulties due to cold weather. The PM and the Interior Minister have been requested to take notice of the issue.
- Unhappy leaders of PML-N Gilgit-Baltistan, who had done a press conference for Gilgit-Baltistan constitutional rights without the consent of CM Hafizur Rahman, met the CM to settle scores and agreed to work under his leadership. Development Minister Dr. Iqbal, Education Minister Ibrahim Sanai, Health Minister Fida Khan, Senior minister Akbar Taban, and provincial secretary Qurban Ali were present in the meeting, only Saubia Muqaddam was not available. Gilgit-Baltistan Speaker Fida Nashad played a vital role in ending the rift. Ministers have given full authority to Gilgit-Baltistan Hafizur Rahman for a meeting with President of Pakistan Arif Alvi.
- Baltistan Commissioner Hamza Salik said that expert from Punjab would invited for development in agriculture sector in Gilgit-Baltistan. Agriculture is the most important and of great economic importance department of Baltistan.