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Mirani Dam affectees demand action against WAPDA planners
03-17-2012, 02:18 PM
Post: #1
Mirani Dam affectees demand action against WAPDA planners
Mirani Dam affectees demand action against WAPDA planners

* Also ask government to compensate their losses caused by floodwater

* Labour Union supports affectees who have been in city for couple of days



LAHORE: Over 16 affectees of Mirani Dam have established a protest camp in front of the Punjab Assembly, demanding the authorities to compensate them and take action against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) engineers for poor planning and wrong estimates.

Sharif Shambazi and other affectees, residents of Turbat area of Balochistan, have demanded WAPDA and other authorities compensate against damages caused to 10,000 families, 30,000 farmers and 40,000 date trees, as on June 26, 2007, floodwaters washed away three union councils of the Kech District. The affectees said that they had earlier approached the Balochistan chief minister and other high-ups but no one was ready to lend an ear to their genuine demands. “We will continue our protest until our demands are addressed,” they said.

Shambazi told Daily Times that WAPDA had started work on the Mirani Dam project in August 2001 without consulting or communicating with the local residents. He said when the residents opposed the project, they were told that only 1,100 people would be affected by the project and the government would compensate them. The engineers and planers estimated that the water level would be 244 feet from the sea level, however, the water level rose to 272 feet above the sea level on the night of June 26, 2007, when the dam was filled with water without informing the residents, causing serious damage to the life and property of 10,000 residents. The farmers, who were earning around Rs 0.2 million to 0.25 million per annum, were forced to lead a miserable life as water had destroyed crops on 30,000 acres while 150 tube wells and 200 diesel engines were also washed away by the floodwaters.

The residents said that WAPDA had provided compensation money to affectees up to the water level of 264 feet, however, above that up to 272 feet affectees were not given anything. The affectees are in Lahore for the last couple of days.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, they said that in 2006, WAPDA started Mirani Dam project and had assured the residents that they would be compensated. However, now no one is listening to their demands, they alleged. Punjab Media Coordinator of the Labour Union told Daily Times that his organisation was supporting the affectees from the platform of the Joint Action Committee and Labour Union. He said a rally would be taken out today (Saturday) at the Punjab Assembly to express solidarity with the affectees.
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