GB, KP locks horns over Diamer-Bhasha Dam site

GB govt demands constitution of boundary commission to resolve dispute over eight kilometre area of Diamer village

KP legislator warns use of force

ISLAMABAD: Federal government is yet to resolve the differences between two neighboring provinces Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) over the land dispute of Diamer Village likely to cause delay in 4,500 MW Diamer-Basha hydropower mega project of $12 billion.

Legislators of both provincial governments locked horns over the land dispute of eight kilometer area of Diamer Village by tabling the resolutions in their respected assemblies, however the role of federal government seems nowhere.

With a storage capacity of about eight million acre feet and projected electricity generation of 4,500 MWs, Diamer-Basha would top both Tarbela and Mangla dams, whose storage capacities have fallen drastically due to silting over the years, while federal government claimed that the said project would take eight years to complete.

A senior parliamentarian from GB legislative assembly, Attaullaha Shahab from Jamiat- Ullema-Islam (JUI-F) told this correspondent that such practices on the part of governments over the land disputes could affect the inter-provincial relations between the said provinces and cast negative impacts over billion-dollar mega power project.

The GB government demanded to constitute the Boundary Commission (BC) based on retired senior judges of apex court to probe the matter. “Constitution of boundary commission can resolve the issue between both neighboring provinces after demarcation of boundaries of both provinces,” he maintained.

“Demand being made by KP over GB’s land is baseless since the decision of a jirga during 1947 had declared it a part of GB,” he added.

According to historians and geographical experts, he said, the disputed area of Diamer Village adjacent to Bhasha was the part of GB region, adding “locals and legislative pillar of GB is united over their stance for the ownership of dubious area under GB geographical boundary line,” Shahab asserted.

However, he praised the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani to inaugurate the long awaiting hydropower project as well as the release of financial compensation to the effected people lived over there at the project site. He said GB government strongly condemned the resolution tabled in KP assembly tabled by a provincial legislature Abdul Sattar Khan, which has called eight kilometers of land on the right side of the dam disputed.

Another legislature, Janbaz Khan also performing as opposition leader in the GB Assembly, called KP Assembly’s resolution a conspiracy against the dam and said the people of GB could wage a fight for their land.

The resettlement of 24,350 people is under way, people of the project site have received 50 percent payment of compensation from the federal government, however, if project went stop, 1600 acres agriculture land in GB region could turn barren and 2,833 household families could be lost their earning source.

On the other hand KP government claimed that the disputed eight kilometer area was under possession of KP, because the said area located at the boundary of Kohistan district administered under KP government. Daily Times