ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday directed the federal and Sindh government for the early completion of Nai Gaj Dam in district Dadu of Sindh.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed sought a timeline for the construction of Nai Gaj Dam from the federal and Sindh governments for the water project whose construction has been stalled for more than a decade.
The court halted cultivation on the katcha (semi-arid) area land along the banks of the river. The chief justice ordered that the katcha lands along the rivers could not be used for cultivation of crops.
The bench also ordered the federal and provincial governments to initiate tree plantation on the sides of rivers and canals across the country.
An expanse of land of riverbeds, that remains mostly out of river water, called katcha area, are usually utilised by local farmers for the cultivation of crops.
The Nai Gaj Dam is an embankment dam currently under construction on the Gaj River in the Kirthar Mountains, 40 kilometres north-west of Dadu. It falls in Manchhar lake after flowing through the arid areas.
The construction of the dam started in May 2012 and was initially planned to be completed within three years. The project has been delayed increasing its cost from an initial estimate of Rs17 billion to a revised Rs47.7 billion in 2019. The completion is now expected in mid-2021.
The construction of a dam on Nai Gaj was launched by the government to utilise the rainwater but is still incomplete for more than a decade. It is estimated that water will be supplied from Nai Gaj Dam in Johi and other areas of Dadu district and also supply 50 cusecs of water to Manchar lake.