Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief, Imran Khan, had promised that his party-led government would build 300 small dams in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and soon there would be no load shedding in the province.
Back in April 2014, Khan, while speaking at a gathering in connection of by-election in PK-86 in Khwazakhela district of Swat, had said that he would not tolerate corruption in the province. He had said that his government will construct small dams for power generation and irrigation.
“Today, my party is ruling KP, but no one can accuse me of spending a single rupee from the taxpayers money,” he had said.
Truth Tracker approached Mushtaq Ghani, Advisor to KP Chief Minister on Higher Education and Information, who did not return our phone calls or text messages despite several attempts.
However, Malik Shah Muhammad Khan Wazir, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Transport, said that Imran Khan did not promise to build large dams, rather he promised the construction of small reservoirs.
“Development work on those small water reservoirs is underway but I do not have the exact figures at this time,” he noted.
He recalled that the PTI chairman had promised to build small reservoirs but the media failed to explain the difference between reservoirs and dams.
“The promise made by Imran Khan is close to being fulfilled, the concerned department will be in a better position to reply to these queries,” he added.
Wazir referred Truth Tracker’s correspondent to the irrigation department or energy and power department. However, none of the officials or the Special Secretary to Chief Minister responded to requests for comment on the subject.
Sayed Jaffar Shah, Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Awami National Party (ANP), said, “Of course the PTI government and Khan himself had repeatedly announced to build 350 dams instead of 300 in KP.”
“PTI has not built 350 swimming pools, let alone 300 dams,” Shah remarked. “However, NGOs are building some small hydel projects having a capacity of five and 10 kilowatts. A budget of Rs. 3 billion was allocated for these hydel projects, but with this amount of funding, even a single wall of a dam can not be built.”
Among the promised 350 dams, he recalled that work on 50 small hydel projects having 5 kilowatts, 10 kilowatts and 15 kilowatts capacities is underway.
“The PTI has inaugurated those 50 projects but it was just a sham,” Shah added. He said that the people are very repentant of their decision to vote for PTI.
“The PTI has played with the sentiments of their voters,” he added.
When contacted for a comment regarding the PTI chairman’s promise to build 300 dams, Malik Riaz Khan, another lawmaker from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), told Truth Tracker, “It (building of dams) was just a ridiculous thing to do.”
When asked how he sees PTI chairman’s promise, Sahibzada Sanaullah, a lawmaker from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was enraged and said,”The PTI cannot even construct 30 dams, and yet they are talking about building 300 dams.”
“If you approach PTI, they will respond that they have plans to construct the dams. Yes, they (PTI) can materialize that promise if you give them 50 years to rule, otherwise it is impossible for them,” Sanaullah noted.
Safiullah Gul, a senior Peshawar based journalist and independent analyst, said regarding PTI Chairman’s promise of building 300 dams in KP: “On the ground realities, it seems that their plan of building dams presently remains to be a ‘political slogan.'”
“If you take a look at the PTI Tsunami Billion Tree Project, the situation is different,” he added.
He said, “Although there are some ongoing projects in the province, it seems unlikely that they (PTI) will be able to complete these dams within the stipulated time because the provincial assembly hardly has one-and-a-half year left to complete its term.”
“There are many lacunas such as proper allocation (of funds), which can not be seen over there,” Gul said regarding PTI’s dams promise.
When asked to specifically tell whether the PTI would be able to construct these dams, Gul said: “It seems very difficult and impossible. All the projects cannot be materialized as the PTI has barely 18 months to remain in power.”
In light of the comments and views presented by the ruling, opposition lawmakers and independent analyst, Truth Tracker rules that PTI’s promise regarding the construction of 300 dams in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stands compromised.