The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) led government had plans to construct Jabba Dam under the Peshawar Greater Water Supply Scheme (PGWSS) to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the residents of the provincial metropolis, Peshawar, and parts of adjacent Khyber Agency.
Last year, the Jabba Dam was included in the Annual Development Program (ADP) 2016-17 under PGWSS, according to provincial Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department.
The feasibility study of the dam had already been completed, which was found feasible through an engineering point of view. The dam is located in Jamrud locality, Khyber Agency, which was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.
It was estimated that the dam, after completion, would help irrigate around 20,000 of acres of land and protect Peshawar City and parts of Khyber Agency from floods during the monsoon season.
In addition, the dam would help ensure provision of one million people with clean drinking water facility with water storage capacity of up to 38,000 gallons of water.
Truth Tracker moves to contact Shah Farman, minister for information and public health engineering, who said, “The Jabba Dam has been finalized as a source of constant drinking water supply facility to the entire population of Peshawar City.”
“The construction of the dam has been approved, with the World Bank (WB) agreement,” he remarked. “Issues pertaining to the funding will be dealt and handled by the FATA secretariat,” he added.
“The proposed dam is situated on a considerable height and its construction does not require heavy funding due to its location,” he noted.
“The dam has already been declared suitable in terms of its feasibility. The dam related issues will be handled by the FATA secretariat,” he observed.
When asked what its completion date is, Farman said that the rest of the issue should be discussed with FATA secretariat as it has the lion’s share.
“Only 20 per cent of the water in Peshawar is suitable for consumption,” he added.
When approached for comments on the subject, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, former provincial information minister and stalwart of Awami National Party (ANP), said, “All the pledges and promises made by the PTI have been trampled upon badly.”
He said that the vital education and health sectors are in shambles and the doctors’ community held a strike against the government.
He said, “The PTI has made all promises in an apparent attempt to help pave way for Imran Khan to become the country’s next prime minister.”
“The Peshawar drinking water issue is the most serious one for the metropolitan city and four budgets have lapsed, and the current budget is tottering upon debt. How could they uphold such a gigantic project for the rest of their term?” he asked.
“I don’t think the PTI will resolve the dire water supply issue in Peshawar. This issue will meet the same fate as all of the other broken promises made by PTI,” Hussain remarked.
Malik Riaz, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F), questioned, “Tell me of a single pledge or promise that the PTI has materialized so far.”
“No activities have been seen or reported that show work has started on the Jabba Dam. There are no funds for projects and the dam will cost billions of rupees. I’m not sure how they plan on constructing it,” he remarked.
Mian Zia-u-Rehman, MPA from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said of PTI’s plan to build Jabba Dam, “It is simply a joke on the people of KP.”
He asked, “Did the people of the province see any dams at a time when the PTI already has a long list of promises, including construction of 300 dams in KP?”
“The dam is another addition to their tall claims and broken promises,” Rehman observed. He said that the four-year term of PTI is in front of the people and voters of the province will decide the fate of the ruling party in the next general election.
Fakhr Azam Wazir, another lawmaker from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said, “Construction of Jabba Dam is totally impossible at a time when the PTI has ten months left in power.”
“Did the PTI construct the promised 350 dams?” Wazir questioned. As usual, he said that the provincial government badly failed to materialize any of its promises during their rule in KP.
“For example, if a particular scheme costs Rs. 10 billion and the PTI government releases Rs. 1 million, he doesn’t think that they (PTI) would be able to complete this ambitious project,” He said. He added that the growing population of Peshawar direly needed clean drinking water but it is impossible for the sitting government could resolve the issue any time soon.
When approached for comments, Mudassar Shah Afridi, a senior Peshawar based journalist and an analyst, said that being the resident of Khyber Agency, he did not observe any dam related development activities taking place in the area.
“I myself visited the Jamrud area where the Jabba Dam will be built and held interviews with locals. I was told that a team visited the area four months ago and there are no other activities underway there,” Afridi noted.
He said that a well has been dug there but no formal work has been started as of yet. “After visiting the area, it does not seem as if any dam is being built there,” he observed.
He also added that the situation was very particular, as the dam was located inside FATA territory. How will the KP government construct the dam there when FATA has not merged with the province yet.
“If you observe facts and ground realities of the area, it (the dam) seems nearly impossible to construct,” he added.
In the wake of remarks and viewpoints and observations by ruling/opposition lawmakers and independent analysts, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI has broken its promise to build the Jabba Dam to ensure provision of drinking water to Peshawar.