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Pakistan puts dams on hold after cost increases

Islamabad, Oct 7 (Calcutta Tube) The cost of building five small dams in Pakistan has increased by a whopping 180 percent in a year, causing Islamabad to put on hold the projects till the cost estimates were rationalised.

The five small dams with a power generation capacity of just 9.5 megawatt has gone up from Rs.35.6 billion to Rs.100 billion in one year, Dawn reported Thursday.

The government Wednesday put on hold the execution of the dams till such time the cost estimates were rationalised.

Unidentified sources told Dawn that several government agencies initially discussed the issue. Later, a meeting was presided over by the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Nadeem-ul-Haque and it was decided to ‘rationalise the project costs’.

The five dams are to be constructed in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan.

A planning commission official said that the government had not yet released any amount for their execution. He added that it was a ‘bureaucratic blunder’.

He said some ‘elements’ had added a number of unnecessary components in feasibility studies as they thought that President Asif Ali Zardari was taking keen interest in the dams and nobody would question their cost.

The official said that the water and power ministry and Water Resources and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) had cleared the projects.

However, WAPDA officials distanced themselves from the cost estimates after the planning commission began cross-questioning.

‘The projects have been put on hold and their cost estimates are being rationalised,’ the official said.

He said Zardari had also been informed about the ‘lapse’.

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