* Test filling of raised dam up to 1,230 feet this year

LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has paid the remaining sum of Rs 3 billion to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government for the compensation of built-up property belonging to the affectees of the Mangla Dam raising project.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the total payment, for the land acquisition and built-up property for the Mangla Dam raising project has now been made to the AJK government. This also includes payment to the old affectees of the Mangla Dam.

WAPDA spokesman said the AJK government had started disbursing the amount to the affectees, which would be completed by the end of the next month (February). Thereafter, the affectees will be given time to construct their houses at alternate locations.

This significant development has paved the way to filling of the raised Mangla Dam, which was completed in 2009 but its filling could not be started due to non-payment to the affectees because of a financial crunch.

Now, the WAPDA has planned to start a test filling of the reservoir this year up to 1,230 feet above the mean sea level. It may be mentioned here that the remaining resettlement works, including four satellite towns and construction of Dhan Gali bridge across the River Jhelum, are in an advance stage and expected to be completed soon.

The Mangla Dam raising project is being completed with a revised cost of Rs 101 billion, out of which a sum of Rs 64 billion was allocated to the resettlement works alone.

The project, being executed under “Vision 2025” of the WAPDA, will enhance the existing live storage capacity of the reservoir to 7.4 million acre feet (MAF) by adding 2.9 MAF to its present capacity. It will also increase the generation capacity of the existing powerhouse, which will contribute 644 million additional units of electricity to the national grid annually.