A strong advocate for construction of highly controversial Kalabagh Dam project, Chairman, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Zafar Mehmood has resigned just six days after he held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the reasons for the delays in implementation of hydropower projects.
Zafar Mehmood became controversial after writing a series of articles on controversial Kalabagh dam. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) submitted an adjournment motion against him in National Assembly after a verbal fight with Dr Nafeesa Shah in the Standing Committee.
On August 20, 2016, the Chairman Wapda visited Tarbela 4th extension wherein he was informed that the project is delayed on the following reasons: (i) abnormal high flows in terms of timings and quantity of waters; (ii) Irsa’s constraints vis-à-vis releases of water from the dam; and (iii) accident at site on July 02, 2016.
Meanwhile, sources claimed that the government was not happy over delays in completion of the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project and extension of Tarbela 4 power project.
Prime Minister has directed Wapda to expedite building of water reservoirs across the country, for increased electricity generation and flood control”.
Prime Minister has inspected Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project and intends to visit Tarbela 4th extension. However, the project is almost one year late. Prime Minister wants completion of both hydropower projects by next year.
A cell was established in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to monitor progress on all the projects including hydropower and thermal projects as the government wants to eliminate load shedding in the country by 2018, a commitment made by the Prime Minister to the nation.