PM says he may supervise dams project himself

* Imran stresses need to avert looming water crisis confronting Pakistan * Decides to take ownership of housing programme for smooth implementation

ISLAMABAD: Emphasising the urgency of building Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams, Prime Minister on Monday said he might supervise the dams project himself.

“I may supervise dams project myself, given the urgency,” the prime minister said in a tweet posted on his Twitter handle.

In this connection, PM Imran also met Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Lieutenant General (r) Muzammil Hussain at his office and discussed water crisis and energy production with him.

He pointed out that Pakistan had a total water outflow of 145 million acre feet, of which 80% was in three months and only 20% was in rest of the nine months (of the year).

The prime minister added that there were only 185 dams in Pakistan of which only two were large ones. “In contrast, India has 5,000 dams and China has 84,000 dams, including 4,000 large ones.”

He stressed the need to avert the looming water crisis confronting Pakistan.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday sought recommendations regarding formulation of a comprehensive plan of action with delineated timelines within two weeks for early roll out of the five million low-cost housing programme.

He was chairing a meeting to review progress on the formulation of a roadmap for construction of five million houses across the country.

It was decided at the meeting that PM Imran would take ownership of programme for its smooth implementation and removal of bottleneck.

“Provision of five million houses equipped with all basic facilities, and regularisation of slums is the foremost priority of the government,” the premier said.

“Construction of the affordable housing initiative would not only provide shelter to the homeless but would generate huge economic activity by providing millions of jobs and will boost all linked industries of the housing sector.”

He continued, “Besides the availability of vast state lands across the country, utilisation of prime lands of the state guest houses and other government owned accommodations/properties in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone could generate billions of rupees for the five million housing programme.”

Earlier, the housing secretary briefed the premier about the annual demand and shortfall in the housing sector.

He also identified various options regarding ensuring availability of land, raising required finances through different modes and undertaking administrative and legal measures needed to encourage private sector and foreign investors towards the initiative.

Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.