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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cost of progress: Kurrum Tangi Dam project likely to displace 12,000 people

Cost of progress: Kurrum Tangi Dam project likely to displace 12,000 people

Report urges govt to review impact of dam being built in K-P. PHOTO: FILE
Around 12,000 people living in 32 villages will be displaced owing to the construction of the Kurrum Tangi Dam in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), according to a report by a consultant.
The report has urged the federal government to review the environmental impact and resettlement plan for the Kurram Tangi Dam, which will also dislodge a number of schools and health facilities.
Furthermore, the cost of the dam, planned to be constructed across the Kurram River, about 19 miles north of Bannu city, has increased by almost Rs42 billion due to inactivity on the project in the last seven years as the budgeted amount was not released by the government.
According to Wapda estimates, in 2004, the dam would have cost Rs17.2 billion, but owing to inflation and an upgraded design, it would now cost Rs59.5 billion, the report stated.
It further recommended generating funds from international donors to resettle the displaced people.
Sources said that about 11,000 acres of land required for the water reservoir has a population of about 12,000 living in 32 villages, with an average size of seven persons per family. Their economic grouping includes landowners, tenants, herdsmen, and so on.
They will need to be resettled due to the inundation of the reservoir area. In addition, 142 cattle sheds, 266 wells, 47 watercourses, about 20 kilometres of roads, about 43 km dirt tracks, 29 primary schools, 11 middle/high schools, one vocational training centre, three madrassas, a hospital, two basic health units, two mother and child health centres, and three veterinary clinics will also be affected.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project was conducted in 2004 as part of an overall feasibility of the project.
“The review of this EIA during the present assignment has revealed that it needs to be significantly upgraded to meet the national regulatory requirements,” the report added.
It said baseline surveys need to be repeated to gather information about those likely to be affected by the construction of the dam.
As estimated by the EIA in 2004, about 15,000 acres of land would be required for the entire project, including the dam, reservoir, powerhouses, and canals of which about 12,200 acres or 83% are privately owned, while about 2,600 acres or about 17% is state owned.
Almost 75% of the land is required for the reservoir, which means about 1,700 acres of agricultural land would be lost.
Since 2004, the design has been optimised and the height of the dam has been raised to 322 feet (98 metres), increasing the reservoir area to 11,000 acres, and the storage capacity to 1.2 million acre feet.
The construction of three new canals for the project will require about 2,300 acres of land, 25% of which is in the militancy-hit tribal territory of North Waziristan Agency, while the remaining 75% lies in the Bannu district. About 1,000 acres will be covered by construction of project structures like the main dam including its appurtenant structures, powerhouses and the weir on Kaitu River.