Murree water project: Escalated cost cited as main reason for shelving scheme

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 12:56:17 by



RAWALPINDI: 

The Punjab government is not likely to complete the Murree Bulk Water Supply project considered essential for fulfilling the hill station’s requirements. 

Not only will it deprive residents of a water scheme they had counted on, it will lead to the loss of millions of rupees already spent on the project.

In a written reply submitted to the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in response to a petition filed for the project’s completion, the government said escalating cost and questions over the project’s sustainability may lead to it being shelved.

The government stated that the scheme was to cost Rs1975 million in 2005, but according to a recent estimate the cost may escalate to Rs7500 million by the time it is completed, which is nearly four times the original.

The reply was submitted by the provincial government’s chief engineer, who is the project director of Murree Bulk Water Supply.

7,500

In response to a petition filed by former Murree tehsil nazim Sardar Saleem Khan, the provincial government said a review of the project may lead to a permanent halt. Funds released for the scheme would be diverted to other public welfare projects in Murree, while land already acquired would likewise be used for public benefit, like construction of new roads.

The equipment purchased for the project will be dismantled and 3500 metre-long pipes would be used for other schemes.

The government also tried to justify the step on the grounds that money saved by shelving the project would be used for supply of electricity to Murree.

Questions

The project was delayed because of the 2005 earthquake, the Supreme Court’s involvement in New Murree project in 2006, dissolution of the New Murree Development Authority in 2008, heavy rains and floods in 2010 and delay in the acquisition of land, according to the government.

The petitioner had requested the LHC to direct the Punjab government to go ahead with the project and not divert the funds allocated to other schemes.

The former nazim had maintained that the supply of water from Jhelum River to Murree and Rawalpindi was essential in the near future to meet residents’ requirements. The plan would have to be realised one day, therefore it should be completed sooner rather than later, he had stated in the petition.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2012. 



Lahore News Sources -2

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