Published Date: Jun 14, 2011
MIRANI DAM VICTIMS NOT YET COMPENSATED: DR MALIK
Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said that the government has not yet compensated the Mirani Dam affectees despite passage of four years. Addressing at a seminar titled “Mirani dam: development or disaster” organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday, he said that in 2007 Mirani dam flood displaced around 400,000 persons and killed nine.
He said that the dam has proved to be a mega disaster for the locals because it failed to deliver and all the government assessments and forecasts have proved wrong. He said that unprecedented rains in 2007 triggered flash floods up-to the level of 271 feet, against the expected 244 feet height and brought disaster in numerous villages in upstream areas. The flood destroyed farms, orchards, homes, livestock and grazing lands. Now people are living under open sky waiting for relief and compensation even after the lapse of four years, he added.
Dr Malik said although he supports the development of dams in Balochistan because a plenty of rainwater goes waste every year which can be stored and channelized for the vast cultivable areas in the province. He said the local people had strong reservations about the design, assessment reports and claims of then Musharraf-led government including cultivation of over 32,000 acres land through this dam but unfortunately the dam is just irrigating 3-4 thousands acres. The vast lands between Turbat and Pasni have become uncultivable due to the dam. He lamented that there have been powerful evidence of corruption and misdeeds of those who exercised power with regard to construction of the dam.
Arshad H. Abbasi, advisor water and power at SDPI, while presiding over the proceedings, said the Mirani dam is a classic example of design failure as the upstream population was affected due to floods and back water flow from Mirani dam in 2007. He lamented that no commission or settlement plan has been set up by the government despite heavy damages to local population and passage of four years. He demanded that a post-project evaluation report consisting of technical, financial, social and environmental third-party audit be initiated immediately.
Sharif Shamazai, associate at the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP), Quetta gave detailed briefing on Mirani dam, its primary objectives, concerns and reservations of local community during construction, design failure and damages it had caused to local community.
He urged the government to immediately provide compensation to the neglected affectees, who had suffered heavy damages. He briefed that Mirani dam was in fact constructed to provide water to Gawadar and adjacent naval base and not to benefit local people or to irrigate 33,000 acres of land, as stated. He added that survey and feasibility was completed in very unprofessional way, ignoring the feedback and reservations of local communities on design, who proposed 80 feet height and 1200 feet wide spill way, which was ignored and resulted in a mega disaster.
A local affectee, Wahid Bux Baloch, said that the people have raised their concerns about the faulty design and height of the dam during NESPAK’s survey and consultative process. However, the then government did not pay any heed to local population genuine concerns and resultantly the heavy rains and flooding in late June in 2007 snatched livelihood of local population particularly in Union Councils Nasirabad, Nodaz and Klatak. “People have lost their homes, crops, livestock and even today they are shelterless and without basic necessities of life including safe drinking water amid unchecked spread of different diseases,” he observed. He said the affected people are facing different financial, social, psychological, and environmental challenges simultaneously but no attention was being paid by the government.