Pakistan Network for Rivers, Dams and People Visit to Mirpur, AJK

Monday, July 15, 2013

Report of Pakistan Network for Rivers, Dams and People (PNRDP) delegation’s Visit to Mirpur, AJK.

A Pakistan Network for Rivers, Dams and People (PNRDP) delegation, comprising of Zubaida Barwani, Ijaz Khan and Aimal Khan, visited the sit-in of Mangla Dam Raising Project’s affectees at Mirpur, AJK. There was sit-in by the affectees for the last 9 days in front of the office of Commissioner Mangla Dam Affairs, Mirpur, AJK.  

As you know after signing Indus Basin Water Treaty with India, Pakistan constructed the Mangla Dam in 1967. Keeping in view the siltation problem (57 million tons per annum), there was provision for 40ft raising in the original design of the project.

The project was started in 2002 and the completion date was planned for June 2007, however the project is yet to be completed. The delay is causing billions of rupees (the project cost was estimated Rs. 62 billion and Rs. 120 billion is so far consumed by it).

To overcome the energy crisis and the siltation problem, the Government has initiated a Mangla Dam Rising which is supposed to increase the water storage capacity by 2.9 million acres and average annual energy output by 14% (772 GWH). The proposed raising will affect about 8023 households and an area of 15783 acre areas will be submerged.

For the resettlement of 8023 affectees (The actual number of affectees according to the affectees is 9640), the authorities were supposed to build one new city and four towns besides other things.  Some 3000 of affected families are those who migrated from Indian Kashmir in 1965 and were settled there.

According to agreement, before displacing the affectees, the construction work at city and towns will be completed and then the plots will be allotted to affectees and built-up payment will be paid to them.  Then they will be given 8 months for construction of houses.

But violating all promises, the WAPDA is asked the affectees to vacate the area. The affectees have started agitation and after several protest demonstrations now they stage sit-in front of the office of Commissioner Mangla Dam Affairs, Mirpur, and AJK.

But during the visit to the proposed new city, the delegation observed many flaws in the project. Apart from construction government building e.i. schools, hospitals etc no house was standing there. The proposed land is not feasible for residential or even commercial construction.     

The affectees’ movement is getting momentum and different civil society organisations/forums are joining them. Representatives from various civil society groups are joining their sit- in for expressing solidarity with them.
Main Demands of the Affectees:

  • Authorities should fulfil all its promises according to the agreement
  • The water level should not be increased over 1206mft level till the resolution of crisis and  the authorities fulfil its promises
  • Redefining the families
  • Affectees' representation in all decision-making or dispute resolution committee   
  • Talks only with high level authorities