The federal government has estimated that the land acquisition and resettlement plans for the Kalabagh and Akhori dams will cost slightly over Rs126.5 billion.

Informed sources told Dawn on Sunday that estimates for land acquisition and resettlement of people likely to be displaced by the two dams had been put at Rs68 billion and Rs58.6 billion, respectively.

The PC-1 of the Akhori dam has been submitted to the water and power ministry.

The sources said that the case had been submitted to the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for technical evaluation and recommendation to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for cost approval.

The CDWP is expected to take up the matter at its forthcoming meeting. The tentative cost of the two dams is about Rs450 billion.

The Akhori dam is estimated to submerge more than 59,200 acres of land and displace about 49,500 of people.

Asked as to how the land acquisition and resettlement plans could be finalised before the approval of Akhori dam”s PC-I, an official said the approval of cost estimates and that of PC-I could move side by side to save time and cost. He said land prices were increasing and hence sooner the government finalised the matter, the better.

He said the CDWP meeting was also likely to consider the engineering design and tender documents of the Akhori dam.

Kalabagh dam would encompass 110,200 acres of land and displace about 120,000 people.

A senior official at the ministry said the government had allocated Rs10 billion for hydel projects and dams in the current year”s development budget, which could be utilised for initial land acquisition of water projects.

Besides, the government has not yet finalised estimates for land acquisition and resettlement plan for Bhasha-Diamer dam. President Gen Pervez Musharraf last year announced construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam and performed its groundbreaking ceremony in April this year.

Source: The Dawn