ISLAMABAD: Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda on Monday informed the National Assembly that some 32,139 acres of land had been acquired for the Diamer Bhasha Dam, which was 86% of the total land required for the purpose.
Replying to a question in the House, he said 31,977 acres of land had been acquired in Gilgit Baltistan and 162 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Faisal Vawda said the government was continuously striving for the development of water reservoirs in the country. Through its executing agency WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority), it had completed the raising of the Mangla Dam, Gomal Zam Dam, Satpara Dam, and Darawat Dam increasing their total storage capacity to 3.91 Million Acre per Feet (MAF).
Diamer Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, and Nai Gaj Dam were at the implementation stage, he added.
Responding to another question, the minister said the country had lost about 22.7 MAF during the floods from 2010 to 2015.
He said the National Water Policy, which was approved in April 2018, emphasized on watershed management in the country. The watershed management, he added, was a dire need of the time, especially in upper areas of the country like Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit- Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to its multiple benefits.
The minister said the total installed capacity of Dasu-HPP was 4,320 megawatts (MW) and it would be implemented in two stages. Both the stages would have the installed capacity of 2,160 MW each.
He said the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved PC-I for the Stage-I in March 2014 amounting to Rs 486,093.30 million with FEC of Rs 218,547.50 million. It was now in implementing phase, he added.
Faisal Vawda said per-capita water availability in the country, that was 5,260 cubic meter per annum in 1951, had reduced to 908 cubic meters per annum in 2018 due to the ever-increasing trend of population, which was a stage of water scarcity.
With the same trend, he said, the projected estimate of water indicated that its availability would further reduce to 800 cubic meters per annum by 2025, which would be the situation of severe shortage of water having serious impacts on the socio-economic life of the people of the country.
The minister said until now, a storage capacity of 4.965 MAF of existing reservoirs had been lost due to sedimentation. Studies showed that an additional 0.75 MAF would be lost due to sedimentation by 2025, hence further reducing per capita water availability, he added.
Don’t make Hajj deals before Policy
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has asked the general public to avoid depositing hajj dues in any bank or Hajj Group Organiser (HGO) directly or indirectly before the announcement of Hajj Policy 2019.
The ministry has warned strict action against the banks and HGO, who are receiving hajj dues directly or indirectly from the general public sans permission of the ministry, said a news release. The ministry said receiving hajj dues is illegal and liable to legal action as the ministry has not yet announced Hajj Policy 2019 and thus not yet allowed any bank or HGO to receive hajj applications or dues from the general public.
Hajj policy would be duly publicized on media and also placed at website www.hajjinfo.org People must not submit hajj applications or ink hajj agreement with any HGOs without permission of the ministry. The ministry has not yet authorized any HGO or bank in this regard. The ministry will not be responsible if any person deposits hajj dues in any unauthorized bank or HGOs. The person concerned will be responsible for his such deeds.
PIA finalizing a business plan: NA told
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Aviation Division Muhammad Mian Soomro today informed the National Assembly that PIA was in process of finalizing its Strategic Business Plan to improve its performance.
Responding to a question during Question Hour he said, “the plan will be submitted to the federal government in March/April 2019. It defines the objectives and strategies that are to be achieved.”
Sharing the steps taken by the government to improve the performance of PIA, he said several profitable new routes like Sialkot-Sharjah, Lahore-Muscat, Islamabad-Doha and Lahore-Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur have been added. “These routes are going very strong and are economically viable,” he added. He said, more new routes Sialkot-Paris-Barcelona, Peshawar-Sharjah, Peshawar-Al-Ain, Multan-Sharjah and Jeddah, and Madinah will commence from January and February 2019.
He said that 20-year old and highly expensive software system had been replaced with a new one which was very cost effective, economical and more efficient. The government had terminated about 200 ghost employees, he added. He said that VIP protocols had been abolished and the employees had been deployed on real assignments. He said that 90 percent flight punctuality had been achieved. “Delays of flights have been
cut down significantly by better planning in engineering, flight operation, and ground handling departments,” he informed. To another question, he said currently, PIA leased fleet included 20 aircraft acquired on a dry lease basis.
The minister further said as a result of verification, 700 degrees of employees were found fake and out of which, 402 employees were terminated, and 35 cases were under process for disciplinary proceedings whereas 263 employees approached the court of law and sought stay orders.
Contain population: SC
ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court today directed the government, civil society, and religious scholars to take steps to tackle the country’s burgeoning population growth rate.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, announced the verdict on the case.
The apex court had taken suo motu notice of the explosive increase in the country’s population back in July last year. The court termed the increase in the population is an explosion and said there is a need to launch a nationwide campaign to tackle the issue.
In the judgment, the Chief Justice observed that the increasing population is a question mark on the future generations and the entire nation needs to be united in tackling population growth.